Supreme Court Wipes Out Democratic SuperPACs: Unions

The majority dealt labor unions a catastrophic blow, and it is a wound to Democratic funding as well.

Unions are Democratic SuperPACs. Here’s Howard Dean saying so during the Democratic primary:

So what happens when the government no longer forces employees into dues-paying membership in unions? As Judge Napolitano says, such a decision is “catastrophic” to unions.

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Obviously, forcing people to “join” unions as dues-paying members is a form of slavery or robbery. People should be permitted to choose their own associations. The Supreme Court made the right decision. And it made it more likely there will be more good decisions in government in the future.

The New York Times reports, “Supreme Court Ruling Delivers a Sharp Blow to Labor Unions.

The Supreme Court dealt a major blow on Wednesday to organized labor. By a 5-to-4 vote, with the more conservative justices in the majority, the court ruled that government workers who choose not to join unions may not be required to help pay for collective bargaining.

Forcing those workers to finance union activity violated the First Amendment, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the majority. “We conclude that this arrangement violates the free speech rights of nonmembers by compelling them to subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern,” he wrote.

The ruling means that public-sector unions across the nation, already under political pressure, could lose tens of millions of dollars and see their effectiveness diminished.

“We recognize that the loss of payments from nonmembers may cause unions to experience unpleasant transition costs in the short term, and may require unions to make adjustments in order to attract and retain members,” Justice Alito wrote. “But we must weigh these disadvantages against the considerable windfall that unions have received” over the years.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch joined the majority opinion, which overruled a four-decade-old precedent.

Justice Elena Kagan summarized her dissent from the bench, a sign of profound disagreement.

“There is no sugarcoating today’s opinion,” she wrote. “The majority overthrows a decision entrenched in this nation’s law — and in its economic life — for over 40 years.”

“As a result,” she wrote, “it prevents the American people, acting through their state and local officials, from making important choices about workplace governance. And it does so by weaponizing the First Amendment, in a way that unleashes judges, now and in the future, to intervene in economic and regulatory policy.”

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor joined the dissent.

The majority based its ruling on the First Amendment, saying that requiring payments to unions that negotiate with the government forces workers to endorse political messages that may be at odds with their beliefs.

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About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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