A Related Note

I wrote recently about the Court’s ruling on Janus v AFCME Council 31, which eliminated public service unions’ ability to collect “agency fees” from non union members.

The dissent by Justice Elena Kagan and joined by her three cohorts in the Court’s liberal wing is instructive, and it foreshadows the kind of government we can expect from today’s “liberals,” should they succeed in gaining control of one or both Houses of Congress and then of the White House.

Its decision will have large-scale consequences. Public employee unions will lose a secure source of financial support. State and local governments that thought fair-share provisions furthered their interests will need to find new ways of managing their workforces. Across the country, the relationships of public employees and employers will alter in both predictable and wholly unexpected ways.

Because unions are entitled to OPM for their financial support.  Because governments will be temporarily inconvenienced in their role as employers.  Because employment relationships must never be disrupted or altered.  It’s settled.


The majority overthrows a decision entrenched in this Nation’s law—and in its economic life—for over 40 years.

By this logic, Kagan would argue that Plessy v Ferguson, which created the racism of separate-but-equal in our schools (among other places), never should have been rejected by Brown v Board of Education of Topeka, because the latter came 60 years after Plessy had become “entrenched in this Nation’s law—and in its economic life.”

And these [citations omitted]:

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.


Every one of them will now need to come up with new ways—elaborated in new statutes—to structure relations between government employers and their workers.


Still more, thousands of current contracts covering millions of workers provide for agency fees. Usually, this Court recognizes that “[c]onsiderations in favor of stare decisis are at their acme in cases involving property and contract rights.”  It prevents the parties from fulfilling other commitments they have made based on those agreements. It forces the parties—immediately—to renegotiate once-settled terms and create new tradeoffs.

This is an especially dangerous principle of the Left: that the convenience of Government is more important, and should have precedence over, individual liberty.  That forced static-ness is better than the freewheeling interactions of free men and women dealing with each other (and their employers from time to time) according to their own imperatives rather than Government diktat.  (Aside: Kagan also cynically overstated the immediacy of renegotiations.  No such thing is mandated; those contracts will expire on their own and can be renegotiated at that time—as has been the case in Wisconsin.)

And: that it’s somehow wrong that judges should be “unleashed” to uphold our basic, inherent in our very existence, liberties.  It’s not the Conservative wing of the Court that has sought to weaponize the 1st Amendment by insisting that free speech and free association are what Government says they are.

The ruling, with Kagan’s dissent, can be seen here.

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