|Rounds (l.) & Thune|
Aquiescent & Compliant
In this particular case, the 8-person court divided evenly on a decision (Friedrichs v. California Teachers Assocation) over whether California public school teachers should be forced to pay union dues even if they didn't belong to the union. The long-standing policy was that even non-members had to pay at least a portion of the dues because union collective bargaining efforts were responsible for the pay and benefits that all teachers, not just union members, receive. Non-members objected to the policy because, even though they're exempted from paying a portion of dues that are dedicated directly to political activities, they believe that the collective bargaining process itself, conducted as it is with public agencies, involves inherently controversial political choices. Teachers are competing for tax dollars, which indeed puts a political slant on government decisions as to how to allocate those dollars.
I side with the plaintiffs, not the unions, on this one. Being a teacher is not a sentence to 100% agreement with other teachers on how best to spend public money just because teachers are paid out of the public treasury. That seems to me a principle that extends to many an organization that is involved in public policy-making and -implementation. An example? One does not need to be a compliant Republican United States Senator just because one is a Republican United States Senator. Political fealty is not the job description of a an elected official. As I would bet most South Dakotans agree, independent thought and action are really okay, okay?
Given its precedent-setting potential, Friedrichs v. CTA will no doubt be refiled once SCOTUS is at full strength. How long will that take? You tell me. How Obama's nominee Garland
|Here Come Da Boss|
GOP Leader McConnell
(photo from wsj.com)
Meantime we're stuck with a status quo that has long been anathema to conservatives. This is poetic justice for those like Thune and Rounds who believe that political considerations are the standard by which public business should be conducted--even if the public disagrees* by a wide margin.**
*Go to page 13 of this WaPo-ABC news poll to find 63% believe the Senate should hold hearings on Obama's nominee.
**Go to page 8 of this CNN/ORC poll that finds 66% believe the Senate should hold hearings.