With prospects for the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) having fallen to zero in Congress, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been busy instead issuing rulings expanding the legal prerogatives of labor unions. One that has the business community up in arms concerns “micro-unions,” in which a union designates a bargaining unit smaller than would be considered natural under Board precedent, but within which it thinks it can muster a voting majority. We covered the issue last year, and a ruling this May confirms that the NLRB is headed down this controversial path. I summarize at Cato at Liberty.
Visual representation of debate result (courtesy Chris Fountain) “Obama should have spent more time in court” [David Frum] “Can you imagine the rewards points we earned by paying for wars with the national credit card?” [@BCAppelbaum via @TPCarney]
Various bloggers have prepared questions for Romney and Obama on topics that include the so-called gender pay gap, the mislabeled Employee Free Choice Act, and Rep. Paul Ryan’s view of unions. [ABA Journal]
Romney’s view of government benefits as politically hypnotic mirrors a “gratitude” fallacy advanced by many progressives [Julian Sanchez, Cato]
Ascendancy of “constituent services” on Hill is a bad sign on many levels [Fred Bernstein, NYT]
Dems vs. ACLU: platform vows to obliterate Citizens United [Damon Root]
Union-backed “Protect our Jobs Amendment” (POJA) ballot proposal, constitutionalizing “collective bargaining” concept, would take Michigan down path of Italian labor law [Emilio Rocca, CEI "Open Market"]
Yale unions defeat uniformed-worker unions in battle to take over New Haven government [NH Independent] SEIU almost had Connecticut-5 House seat in pocket, till FBI arrested candidate’s finance manager [PSI]
Checking up on the outcome of a 1995 class action co-repped by attorney Barack Obama [Hans Bader]
Good Tim Carney column on the Dems’ absurd posturing in Charlotte on the auto rescue. “Here’s the truth: what Romney proposed for Detroit was more or less what Obama did.” (For extra credit, observe the parallel with some GOPers’ insistence that RomneyCare was utterly dissimilar to ObamaCare in every respect.) More: National Review; Reuters on the Chevy Volt.
“Someone tell Gov O’Malley that Swiss bank UBS is helping build a Maryland bridge.” [background; State of Maryland, PDF, via Dan Alban] Dems’ trade xenophobia escapes ire aimed at GOP’s purported immigration xenophobia [Barro] “Buried in the 2012 Democratic platform: Official declaration of war on Switzerland.” [@daveweigel]
Are you better off than you were four years ago? Kyle Graham traces that question back to 1900, and no doubt it’s older [ConcurOp]
No mercy to errant vehicles, bank accounts, pharmacy shelves or medical marijuana dispensaries: “The Justice Department’s asset forfeiture fund under President Obama is the largest it’s ever been, having grown from $500 million in 2003, to $1.8 billion in 2011, according to a new report from the GAO.” [Mike Riggs, Reason]
“For those of us who oppose the Affordable Care Act as a policy matter, this is a bad day,” [Georgetown law professor Randy] Barnett said. “For those of us in this fight to preserve the limits of constitutional government, this is not a bad day.” [Ezra Klein; more from Prof. Barnett at Daily Beast] Similarly, at more length: Sean Trende, RCP via Tom Smith, Right Coast. Contrasting views: Ilya Shapiro, Philadelphia Inquirer (“an unfortunate convergence of two unholy strains of constitutional jurisprudence: liberal activism and conservative pacifism”); Ramesh Ponnuru (“The resulting law may be a better one than Congress wrote. It is not, however, the law that Congress wrote.”).
And here is a podcast from the Cato Institute with colleagues Roger Pilon, Ilya Shapiro, Trevor Burrus, Michael Cannon, and Michael Tanner:
And a video interview with Trevor Burrus here. Don’t forget, if you didn’t check in on it at the time, yesterday’s periodically updated Twitter-scroll post with (at last count) 43 tweets and dozens of links to relevant posts and resources.
In three significant cases before the Supreme Court this term — Hosanna-Tabor Church v. EEOC on religious liberty, U.S. v. Jones on warrantless GPS search, and Sackett v. EPA on rights to challenge regulatory agency actions — the justices have been unanimous in rejecting the Obama Administration’s position. This Department of Justice, it seems, keeps asserting a vision of virtually unfettered executive-branch power that even its own appointees on the Court find unpersuasive. “If the government loses in the health-care or immigration cases,” writes my Cato Institute colleague Ilya Shapiro, “it won’t be because its lawyers had a bad day in court or because the justices ruled based on their political preferences. It will be because the Obama administration continues to make legal arguments that don’t pass the smell test.” [WSJ]
As I relate in a post at Cato at Liberty, the Obama Labor Department has withdrawn a far-reaching proposal that would have banned much or most work done by kids on farms, even work for their own family members (a narrow exemption would have remained in cases where parents were the sole owners of a farmstead). The proposals drew a huge outcry from rural America (earlier here and here).
For approximately a decade, activists have attempted to pass legislation amending the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to restrict the ability of youth under the age of 16 to work in agriculture. The legislation has never been scheduled for a vote or even a hearing, and the DOL-proposed rule change is [was] apparently an effort to restrict youth employment in agriculture through regulation.
If it seems impossibly extreme to forbid 15-year-olds from feeding chickens at a neighboring farm owned by their aunt, be aware that many groups organized around the fine-sounding mission of ending “child labor” would like to institute bans that go even further. For example, an NGO by the name of Global March Against Child Labor (represented in Washington, D.C. here) supported the DoL rules and declares itself “of the view that child labour in agriculture should not be allowed in any part of the world and in any form- whether as family labour or as hired labour.”
P.S. For more pro-ban sentiment, see this piece by AP labor correspondent Sam Hananel stenographizing the views of groups like Human Rights Watch.
“Rather hilariously, David Dow, the author of the Newsweek piece calling for the impeachment of the Supreme Court if they overturn the health care law, is the author of America’s Prophets: How Judicial Activism Makes America Great.” Only the right sort of judicial activism. Impeach the rest!
My Cato colleague Gene Healy points out that President Obama is the fourth chief executive who also taught constitutional law, joining William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson and Bill Clinton. “Taft did comparatively little damage, but the rest hardly inspire confidence that familiarity with constitutional scholarship encourages fidelity to the national charter.” [Washington Examiner] He lets me have a parting shot:
My Cato Institute colleague Walter Olson, author of “Schools for Misrule: Legal Academia and an Overlawyered America”, explains that “legal academia rewards cleverness in coming up with strained arguments for ideologically favored (or just expedient) positions; marginalizes as eccentric thinkers who favor original understanding as a guide” to the Constitution and often reduces law to “politics by other means.”
Unfortunately, that training has served Obama well.
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