SCOTUS swats down public sector unions

posted at 11:01 am on June 23, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

I realize that everyone is waiting with worms on their tongues for the big SCOTUS decision on Obamacare, but the highest court has quite a bit of other business on their docket as well. One of those items was resolved this week when the Supremes handed down a 7-2 decision in Knox vs. SEIU. The case revolved around a complaint against the SEIU in California for taking extra “fees” out of the paychecks of workers to fund political campaigns against two ballot measure.

The U.S. Supreme Court sharply criticized public-sector unions for using money from nonmembers to fund special political campaigns, stepping into the intense political debate about such unions and signaling that new constitutional limits may be coming…

“This aggressive use of power by the SEIU to collect fees from nonmembers is indefensible,” said Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., speaking for the court’s majority. “When a public-sector union imposes a special assessment or dues increase, the union … may not exact any funds from nonmembers without their affirmative consent.”

On the specifics of the particular losses suffered by Knox and the other plaintiffs, we’re not talking about a lot of money here. In fact, the SEIU only had to refund an amount covering $6.45 per month over a relatively short period. Further, the ruling doesn’t cover union dues, but rather extra “fees” which they take from their members for special circumstances. But the wider implications of this case may be a lot more than pocket change. The full text of the majority decision makes this look like a new precedent. Previously the court has allowed unions to withhold dues or other “fees” and it was incumbent upon the worker to proactively “opt out” of it to avoid paying. The way Alito wrote this makes it sound very much as if unions should have to go and obtain affirmative consent from each worker before any money can be withheld.

The breakdown on the decision probably wasn’t all that surprising. Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito were with the majority decision. Sotomayor and Ginsburg voted in favor, but chose not to sign off on Alito’s opinion. Breyer and Kagan dissented. And there’s a bit of interesting insight to be found in Breyer’s dissent.

“The debate about public unions’ collective bargaining rights is currently intense,” Justice Stephen G. Breyer said in a dissent. “There is no good reason for this court suddenly to enter the debate, much less now to decide that the Constitution resolves it.”

So Breyer, of all people, is suddenly worried about the court looking too political? I was unaware that there were established “seasons” for justice. Also, he seems to vaguely question the constitutionality of ruling on such a case. Really? When you strip away all the pomp and politics and hype, this boils down to a case of somebody taking somebody else’s money without their permission and over their objections. That sounds suspiciously like theft to me, and I don’t think there’s ever been a question of whether or not the states can make theft illegal.


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The upcoming SC decision on Obama-care is a two-edged sword. This unpopular junk legislation is an albatross around Zero’s neck-so if the SC says keep it “as is”, Bozo is stuck with it and Romney can promise to take executive action to amend or bypass it. On the other hand the SC doing away with the mandate or the entire bill (and less face it,killing the mandate alone effectively destroys the whole shebang)gets this monkey off Obama’s back– plus he can blame the judiciary for failure (especially the Bush appointed justices).

On the other hand ,passing of the Health Care Bill (aside from ordering the killing of Bin Laden)is Obama’s ONLY achievement, dubious as it may be. To be struck down as “unconstitutional” would not only mean that Zero has a virtual zero record of success but that he is a constitutional imbecile as well.Plus, to rub a little salt in, at a time when jobs and economic recovery should have been paramount, Obama wasted time on Health Care which, at best, was an ancillary consideration.

So no matter which way the SC rules–(my bet 6-3 mandate goes, 5-4 bill stays), set the dryer foe spin cycle.

MaiDee on June 23, 2012 at 1:00 PM

SWalker, didn’t mean to imply that it’s his fault. The pool changed.

Schadenfreude on June 23, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Not all of that change was bad. Some of us new arrivals actually improved the place.

*WOOF*

John Hitchcock on June 23, 2012 at 1:01 PM

(man do I miss Bryan Preston)

SWalker on June 23, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Good one, indeed.

Schadenfreude on June 23, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Not all of that change was bad. Some of us new arrivals actually improved the place.

*WOOF*

John Hitchcock on June 23, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Not meant to imply that either. Indeed on what you wrote. It’s their ‘house’ and all are welcome. All can ignore anything or leave, of course. It’s just often sad that some on the right are so narrow minded, and single-threaded in their thinking, no different than the lefties.

Schadenfreude on June 23, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Not all of that change was bad. Some of us new arrivals actually improved the place.

*WOOF*

John Hitchcock on June 23, 2012 at 1:01 PM

I didn’t say it was all bad, their are quite a few newer nics here that I really like. And quite honestly, this place used to be quite a bit more rough and tumble, used to be a lot more trolls as well, the new trolls though… wow, talk about weapons grade stupid… and pure partisan to boot… Some of the old trolls were just plain funny as hell.

SWalker on June 23, 2012 at 1:07 PM

no different than the lefties.

Schadenfreude on June 23, 2012 at 1:04 PM

How dare you equate us lefties with Leftists! I thought we already settled that issue!

Oh, and /

John Hitchcock on June 23, 2012 at 1:07 PM

It’s just often sad that some on the right are so narrow minded, and single-threaded in their thinking, no different than the lefties.

Schadenfreude on June 23, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Yea, I’ve noticed that as well. I’m a pretty solid Constitutional Conservative, but some of they folks here practically make me look like a moderate squishy.

SWalker on June 23, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Here you go GrannyDee. Try not to puke.

http://www.newsmax.com/WayneAllynRoot/Government-Employee-Scandal-pension/2012/03/05/id/431489

VegasRick on June 23, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Why am I not surprised?

These union members make me sick. Thieves, crooks and liars, the whole bunch of ‘em.

GrannyDee on June 23, 2012 at 1:10 PM

John Hitchcock on June 23, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Dang, we did. Note that 9/10 I do practice…leftists, of course.

I aim to learn, teach :)

Schadenfreude on June 23, 2012 at 1:11 PM

“That’s for your shrimp.”

GrannyDee on June 23, 2012 at 1:00 PM

ROFLMAO! That’s hilarious!

I would have fallen off my chair in helpless laughter.

PatriotGal2257 on June 23, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Some of the old trolls were just plain funny as hell.

SWalker on June 23, 2012 at 1:07 PM

A few were even truly erudite, as most claim to be.

Schadenfreude on June 23, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Will. Not. Go. There. +_+

boardy9 on June 23, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Could someone tell me what +_+ means?

Thx.

GrannyDee on June 23, 2012 at 1:13 PM

GrannyDee

Schadenfreude on June 23, 2012 at 1:16 PM

PatriotGal2257 on June 23, 2012 at 1:12 PM

I was sooooo embarrassed. There I was, dressed to the nines, trying to impress my date (who was older than me, a man of the world, so to speak) and I fell flat on my face.

These days, I only have to deal with ignorant libs, not snooty waitresses.

GrannyDee on June 23, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Could someone tell me what +_+ means?

Thx.

GrannyDee on June 23, 2012 at 1:13 PM

I believe it means eyes clenched closed…

SWalker on June 23, 2012 at 1:17 PM

GrannyDee on June 23, 2012 at 1:13 PM

I believe it to be a facial expression.

Cindy Munford on June 23, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Schadenfreude on June 23, 2012 at 1:16 PM

LOL! Thanks for the link. I love the “I don’t care face”, although I doubt I will ever use it.

Cindy Munford on June 23, 2012 at 1:19 PM

(man do I miss Bryan Preston)

SWalker on June 23, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Good one, indeed.

Schadenfreude on June 23, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Whatever happened to Bryan?

OmahaConservative on June 23, 2012 at 1:20 PM

Could someone tell me what +_+ means?

Thx.

GrannyDee on June 23, 2012 at 1:13 PM

I believe it means eyes clenched closed…

SWalker on June 23, 2012 at 1:17 PM

and lips tightly closed

boardy9 on June 23, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Whatever happened to Bryan?

OmahaConservative on June 23, 2012 at 1:20 PM

Laura Ingraham snapped him up, then the Texas Republican Party snatched him away from Laura, and now he’s a big wig at PJMedia.

SWalker on June 23, 2012 at 1:25 PM

SWalker on June 23, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Yeah, I knew he was with Laura for awhile, but lost track after he left her…
Thanks

OmahaConservative on June 23, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Could someone tell me what +_+ means?

Thx.

GrannyDee on June 23, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Thx, all.

and lips tightly closed

boardy9 on June 23, 2012 at 1:23 PM

How come? (If you don’t mind my asking).

GrannyDee on June 23, 2012 at 1:28 PM

For a liberal it’s simple – when they decide the way I want- the SC is wisely exercising judicial restraint and power. When the decision goes against me the SC is a bunch of partisan, hack robe wearing h8ters anywhere.

katiejane on June 23, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Yeah, I knew he was with Laura for awhile, but lost track after he left her…
Thanks

OmahaConservative on June 23, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Yea, I followed him over there for awhile, but Laura’s crowd just didn’t suit me.

SWalker on June 23, 2012 at 1:30 PM

How come? (If you don’t mind my asking).

GrannyDee on June 23, 2012 at 1:28 PM

I was raised that way and you’re a Granny for goodness sakes.

boardy9 on June 23, 2012 at 1:30 PM

I didn’t know about a particular fork at my place setting. In a very loud, condescending voice, the snooty waitress said to me, “That’s for your shrimp.”
GrannyDee on June 23, 2012 at 1:00 PM

To which, I’d have said: ‘I was hoping that my shrimp would be dead when they got here, How do they hold the fork, and are we going to be charged for what they eat?’

LegendHasIt on June 23, 2012 at 1:30 PM

What ever happened to the Beck decision? Is it not still on the books?

devan95 on June 23, 2012 at 1:30 PM

I was raised that way and you’re a Granny for goodness sakes.

boardy9 on June 23, 2012 at 1:30 PM

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA (gasp, catching my breath) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Ooops. I think I should rephrase my question.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA (gasp, catching my breath) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

GrannyDee on June 23, 2012 at 1:34 PM

To which, I’d have said: ‘I was hoping that my shrimp would be dead when they got here, How do they hold the fork, and are we going to be charged for what they eat?’

LegendHasIt on June 23, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Reason #100 ga-zillion about why I love HA.

GrannyDee on June 23, 2012 at 1:37 PM

I was raised that way and you’re a Granny for goodness sakes.

boardy9 on June 23, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Heh, clever!

She’s a naughty Granny, though :) Love you Granny.

Legend, you are a smart ‘ne!

Schadenfreude on June 23, 2012 at 1:54 PM

For a liberal it’s simple – when they decide the way I want- the SC is wisely exercising judicial restraint and power. When the decision goes against me the SC is a bunch of partisan, hack robe wearing h8ters anywhere.

Whereas conservatives are completely consistent in their bashing of “activist judges”–they reserve it solely for those unaccountable tyrants in robes who overturn statutes duly passed by the elected representatives of the people. Except, of course, when they don’t.

Needless to say, the bitching about the judiciary cuts both ways. Jesus, the lack of self-awareness around here’s amazing sometimes.

El Txangurro on June 23, 2012 at 2:04 PM

I thought that one was older than the hills.

Jazz Shaw on June 23, 2012 at 11:48 AM

I always heard that one as older than the hills and dustier to.

chemman on June 23, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Heh, clever!

She’s a naughty Granny, though :) Love you Granny.

Legend, you are a smart ‘ne!

Schadenfreude on June 23, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Little do you know, Schad. (hee, hee, hee)

GrannyDee on June 23, 2012 at 2:13 PM

That sounds suspiciously like theft to me, and I don’t think there’s ever been a question of whether or not the states can make theft illegal.

TARP and every tax funded bail-out qualifies as theft since the money is effectively stolen, usurped from Congressional appropriation, spent/GIFTED to global banks instead of made available as promised and voted upon to US citizens applying for small business loans, or mortgages, or whatever else the latest bailout is promised to cure.

maverick muse on June 23, 2012 at 2:27 PM

That’s as old as the hills and twice as dusty.

how we used to say it

maverick muse on June 23, 2012 at 2:29 PM

how we used to say it

maverick muse on June 23, 2012 at 2:29 PM

I heard it that way also.

chemman on June 23, 2012 at 2:46 PM

I didn’t know about a particular fork at my place setting. In a very loud, condescending voice, the snooty waitress said to me, “That’s for your shrimp.”
GrannyDee on June 23, 2012 at 1:00 PM

You should have said, “no, it’s actually a thigh fork”, and then stuck it in her leg.

slickwillie2001 on June 23, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Oh, COME ON, guys! “Waiting with worms on your tongue.”
“Waiting with baited breath… ”
#rimshot
I thought that one was older than the hills.
Jazz Shaw on June 23, 2012 at 11:48 AM

I’m not QUITE as old as the hills, but I thought I invented that… Well, close… I have for decades said to people who were ‘waiting with bated breath:

“Oh, you been eatin’ worms again, Huh?”

LegendHasIt on June 23, 2012 at 2:58 PM

; )

Bmore on June 23, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Resist We Much on June 23, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Resist, I hope you went back to read the thread where the two nitwits were moping about you linking to your site. Lots of folks supported you. Don’t you dare change anything, not that you would :)

Schadenfreude on June 23, 2012 at 3:41 PM

For a liberal it’s simple – when they decide the way I want- the SC is wisely exercising judicial restraint and power. When the decision goes against me the SC is a bunch of partisan, hack robe wearing h8ters anywhere.

Whereas conservatives are completely consistent in their bashing of “activist judges”–they reserve it solely for those unaccountable tyrants in robes who overturn statutes duly passed by the elected representatives of the people. Except, of course, when they don’t.

Needless to say, the bitching about the judiciary cuts both ways. Jesus, the lack of self-awareness around here’s amazing sometimes.

El Txangurro on June 23, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Lack of self-awareness, indeed. Liberals haven’t a leg to stand on when it comes to criticisms of “judicial activism” because, you see, judicial activism involves finding “rights” or “limits” where there are NONE in the United States Constitution. Conservatives want something very simple: we want our federal courts to make findings based upon the text of the Constitution, and any rights and/or limits “not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” That’s all. Just follow the Constitution. Or, as I like to call it, doing their job.

Hell, Google “examples of conservative judicial activism” and see what you find:

Citizens United: a clear First Amendment violation (that First Amendment is a Constitutional thingy we tend to take kind of seriously, what with it starting with the phrase “Congress shall make NO LAWS…” and all. I don’t know, does that seem ambiguous to you?).

Bush vs. Gore: Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment (also a Constitutional thingy, and one man’s hanging chad — within a single state — can’t be a vote for Gore if another man’s hanging chad — in that same state — won’t be a vote for Bush. See how that works?).

These rights are not “implicit” (or unsaid) as the Court’s finding of a privacy right in Roe Vs. Wade is; they are explicit or said, right there in that Constitution thingy.

Rational Thought on June 23, 2012 at 3:43 PM

On the other hand the SC doing away with the mandate or the entire bill (and less face it,killing the mandate alone effectively destroys the whole shebang)gets this monkey off Obama’s back– plus he can blame the judiciary for failure (especially the Bush appointed justices).

No, it doesn’t take the monkey off BO’s back, and his “blame train” has pretty much run off the tracks already.

Regardless how the USSC rules, BO loses either way, because even if the USSC fails in their duty to uphold the Constitution, Obamacare will be repealed. The work of BO’s entire administration will need to be repealed, reversed, cancelled, purged, expunged, nuked, nullified and invalidated utterly.

Harbingeing on June 23, 2012 at 3:51 PM

we’re not talking about a lot of money here. In fact, the SEIU only had to refund an amount covering $6.45 per month

Times tens of thousands of employees…”only $6.45″…

right2bright on June 23, 2012 at 5:06 PM

To which, I’d have said: ‘I was hoping that my shrimp would be dead when they got here, How do they hold the fork, and are we going to be charged for what they eat?’

LegendHasIt on June 23, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Just stopped back after some grocery shopping and saw this. If this is not the perfect comeback to snooty waitresses, I don’t know what is. Hilarious!

GrannyDee on June 23, 2012 at 1:16 PM

I hear you about wanting to make a good impression on someone and doing something that, to you, makes you stand out like a sore thumb. But I bet it was all forgotten after about 5 minutes. I can attest from being a cantor in my church choir that if I trip over my tongue (or my feet), or if my voice cracks suddenly that usually the only one who remembers afterward is me and maybe the choir director. Then we both have a good laugh. Doesn’t say much about the attention span of our parishioners, though. LOL

PatriotGal2257 on June 23, 2012 at 5:52 PM

That sounds suspiciously like theft to me, and I don’t think there’s ever been a question of whether or not the states can make theft illegal.

And so is making me pay for health INSURANCE I don’t want just so Big Goberment can give some to those who can’t afford, indeed the goberments theft may make me one who can’t afford, soon!

ConcealedKerry on June 23, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Jazz: the last thread (open) and this one, you guys never mention that this decision had nothing to do with MEMBERS of the union.

This was about NON-members being assessed a special fee that they could opt-out of; and then after they did, assessed an emergency fee without the opt-out notification :)

This wasn’t about what the union is doing to it’s own; it was what they do to the indentured-workers that share space with them.

Lord Nazh on June 23, 2012 at 8:20 PM

Never enforced, and notification that was required to be posted in union shop was pulled under Clinton.

iurockhead on June 23, 2012 at 11:46 AM

President Romney will make sure they are enforced.

VegasRick on June 23, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Any particular reason for this confidence that Romney would go to extra effort to enforce a ruling that would generate pushback from the liberals?

Has he spoken about his intentions to do this? Is it part of his platform?

Why exactly should we believe that a President Romney will enforce such a ruling? Politic campaigns are known for campaign promises that don’t get kept. I’m not aware that this even rises to the level of a campaign promise, or even a campaign statement of intent.

Why exactly should we believe that Romney will go further than Bush 41 or Bush 43? It hasn’t exactly been his M.O.

There Goes The Neighborhood on June 24, 2012 at 5:02 AM

However, on a very serious note, in Europe one of the main reasons that so many people left the churches is that such were built into mandatory deductions from one’s payroll.

Schadenfreude on June 23, 2012 at 12:31 PM

I think one of the megachurches in Dallas does this. One of my co-workers was talking about that, ages ago. Either one of those, or one of the churches in Mississippi she used to go to before she moved. Can’t remember specifics, sorry :(

cptacek on June 24, 2012 at 11:24 PM

ooooh, Ed Schultz is going to be pissed.

StevC on June 25, 2012 at 11:08 AM

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