This morning, the Supreme Court dealt a devastating blow to the workers’ unions that made our country a superpower and uplifted millions of families into the middle class, the latest in a string of appalling decisions made possible by the Republican Party’s willingness to discard all norms in favor of a winner-take-all political gambit that somehow paid off.
The 5-4 decision in Janus v. the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 dictates that public sector unions can no longer force members to pay their dues, which cripples their ability to fundraise and thus their ability to support political candidates who would fight on behalf of workers.
The ungrateful scab behind the entire case, Illinois state child support worker Mark Janus, launched his lawsuit after complaining that having to pay union fees was “compelled free speech” even though his fees were only being used to cover bargaining and representation expenses, not political activism.
So somehow in 24 hours the Supreme Court under Neil Gorsuch has decided that union dues are a First Amendment violation but religious and ethnic travel restrictions are not, using some twisted, ridiculous logic that makes it obvious that this is an exercise in partisanship on behalf of the plutocrats and the Republican Party.
the unintended consequences of applying this reasoning other instances of the government telling you do stuff as your boss, or making you pay for things you hate generally, are so profoundly absurd that it's clear what a tortured, purely political outcome this case is
— Rich Lather (@muhmentions) June 27, 2018
The Janus ruling affects nearly 5 million public sector union jobs in 22 states that haven’t already gelded their unions with right-to-work laws from their Republican-strangled legislatures. Under the new rules, “a worker can choose not to pay them but still reap the benefits of the union’s bargaining and grievance process. A downward spiral can ensue: As more workers decide not to support the union, the union becomes less effective, giving more workers reason to bow out” explains Dave Jamieson at HuffPost.
President Trump took to Twitter this morning to boast about the victory in his infuriatingly smug way, gloating about how bad a defeat this was for the Democrats and making it clear what this is really all about:
Supreme Court rules in favor of non-union workers who are now, as an example, able to support a candidate of his or her choice without having those who control the Union deciding for them. Big loss for the coffers of the Democrats!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2018
Of course Trump, as a lifelong enemy of union and unrepentant abuser of workers, would cheer the dismantling of one of American labor’s few remaining vehicles for exercising political power.
But it’s obvious he sees this as another personal victory, a notch in his belt delivered to him by Mitch McConnell’s unprecedented political obstructionism and, it must be said, by the Obama administration’s refusal to fight hard enough for the confirmation of his Supreme Court nominee.
When the Democrats finally retake power, it’s clear we need to take drastic action to fix this situation by any means necessary. Whether it is by impeaching Neil Gorsuch or adding two more seats to the Supreme Court and packing it with young progressives, we cannot allow this state of affairs to continue as normal. The well-being of too many people hangs in the balance.
The lasting damage that Gorsuch has been able to do in just one week of rulings is breathtaking, and we’ll be paying for it for decades to come.