Tuesday, February 16, 2016
News of the passing of Supreme Court Justice Scalia this weekend came as a shock.
My condolences go to his family and friends in this time of sadness.
Tjis son of immigrants rose to serve on the highest court in the land.
His position on the court and his passing is a reminder of how much one person can matter, and how much one election can matter.
He was one of the more conservative Jusdices and his passing completely changes the makeup of the court and will effect American law for years to come.
Of the many cases now before the court the one that is of greatest concern to the labor movement is Friedrichs v California Teachers.
Oral arguments have been heard and from the questions and comments that day, it was widely thought that a decision later this year would favor the plaintiffs. Justice Scalia's remarks in particular seemed to lean in that direction. A 5-4 decision was expected, at least on some of the points.
To be honest, this would have changed the labor movement and politics in this country for years into the future.
Progressives in this country are at a big financial disadvantage to conservatives. The 1% want to keep things status quo and conservative politicians are their vehicle to do that. The 99% want change and progressive politicians are their vehicle. The rich have unlimited financial resources to fund politicians who favor them, while the rest of society lacks those financial resources.
The Labor Movement is one vehicle to fight back. Workers, by pooling their resources (financial and human) are a balance to the rich.
Friedrichs would change that.
This case was so important to conservatives that they urged the lower courts to rule against them so that it could be fast tracked to the Supreme Court while they had what they believed was a 5-4 majority.
Then, in an instant , the world changed.
Legal minds differ on whether this probable 4-4 tie means this case reverts to the lower court decision or whether it means it must be reheard, but for the moment it looks like the Labor Movement and the progressive movement in this country will live on.
I pray that we take this as a warning and heed it.
We are under attack by the wealthy who do not want to share.
Against every religious ideology they refuse to help their brothers and sisters, refuse to treat them with respect and dignity.
Some will argue that that is the American way, that is capitalism.
While it may be capitalism, it is far from the American way.
We are a country of imperfect immigrants, looking for a better life.
We have a moral obligation to put the good of the many ahead of the greed of a few.