UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES AT SCOTUS | Pennsylvania Republicans Declare War On Courts | The Shrinking Power Of Public Unions
February 23, 2018
HOW TO BE BAD|
Fix the Court’s Executive Director, Gabe Roth, explains in The Hill that our beloved justices have mixed views “on a range of institutional guidelines, from how best to enter their building to what to serve in the cafeteria.” But this becomes a problem when they have different views on how their own investments might affect rulings in certain cases. Roth writes, “By law, justices are required to recuse themselves from cases in which a company whose shares they own is a named litigant. But they are not required to step aside when that same company files a brief supporting one side or the other — even though it may look improper to vote on such a case.” And that’s a problem because intentionally or not, the justices could be profiting off from how they vote in certain cases.
A CALL TO ARMS|
In The Washington Post, Christopher Ingraham notes that because Republican lawmakers lost a state supreme court case for unconstitutionally gerrymandering their district maps, they’re now declaring war on courts. These state legislators are now calling for the impeachment of the supreme court justices responsible for the ruling, which legal experts say is tremendously alarming. “Using impeachment — even talking about impeachment in a serious fashion — as a means to express disagreement with one particular substantive decision is a very dangerous approach to both the structure of government and the rule of law, and a serious threat to the independence of the judiciary,” said JUSTIN LEVITT of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.
These Pennsylvania Republicans filed another emergency appeal with SCOTUS this week asking for a hold on the new nonpartisan map drawn by the state supreme court, and they just filed another federal lawsuit hoping to block implementation of the map entirely. The lawsuit criticized the new map as unfairly benefiting Democrats. “Far from being free of politics, it appears that every choice made in the Court Drawn Plan was to pack Republicans into as few districts as possible, while advantaging Democrats,” the suit said. Seven of the eight members of Congress who are suing are running for re-election in districts that have “drastically changed,” the suit says.
THE POWER OF PUBLIC UNIONS|
Monday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that could shrink the power of unions in this country. Adam Liptak with The New York Times points out, “A ruling against public unions is unlikely to have a direct impact on unionized employees of private businesses, because the First Amendment restricts government action and not private conduct. But unions now represent only 6.5 percent of private sector employees, down from the upper teens in the early 1980s, and most of the labor movement’s strength these days is in the public sector.”
ED BOARD OVERTURE|
The Editorial Board of The Wall Street Journal previews Monday’s public unions case and urges the high court to correct its 40-year-old “mistake” in which it ruled that there’s no practical difference between collective bargaining by public and private unions since both negotiate over wages, pensions and work conditions. Not so much, says the WSJ Ed Board. “Collective bargaining in government is intrinsically different because it implicates public policy and political issues.”
THE FIGHT OVER TEXTUALISM|
In The National Law Journal, Richard Hasen notes that even two years after the death of JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA, the fight over his textualist approach to interpreting federal statutes shows no signs of abating. And we can see why by looking at a pair of opinions issued Wednesday by JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR, a concurring opinion by JUSTICE CLARENCE THOMAS and a surprising concurring vote of JUSTICE SAMUEL ALITO.
“Adam Winkler, a professor of law at UCLA School of Law, says the justices might be holding off before granting another significant 2nd Amendment case because there hasn’t been enough disagreement in lower courts to merit stepping in…But the court’s inaction frustrates gun rights supporters.”Reuters
“Taking away mandatory agency fees could have profound implications for public-sector union coffers. Unions in New York state, for example, would lose an estimated $110 million per year without mandatory fees from non-members, according to the business-backed Empire Center for Public Policy.”