Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
Family Studies: As we often note on this blog, one factor behind the decline of marriage is the declining availability of stable, well-paying work for men who have not graduated from college.
The Hill: The powerful National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) filed a lawsuit Wednesday, challenging Labor Department regulations that require federal contractors to display posters informing workers of their right to unionize.
USA Today: Obenshain’s concession means Democrats in Virginia will now hold all statewide offices for the first time since 1970, in a sign that there is more blue being injected into the swing state’s purple tinge.
Alec Torres at Education Views: As the lead plaintiff in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which has recently left the U.S. District Court for California’s Central District and will soon be on its way to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Friedrichs argues that forcing her to financially support union activism for political agendas she disagrees with violates her First Amendment rights.
AP: The independent Field Poll said that by a narrow margin, more voters said unions do more harm than good, as opposed to those who see organized labor as generally beneficial.
WUNC Public Radio 91.5: With the support of two advocacy groups, 25 plaintiffs across the state filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging a private school voucher law passed earlier this year. The N.C. Association of Educators and N.C. Justice Center are sponsoring the lawsuit, arguing that the vouchers are a broad assault on the state’s public schools as it funnels taxpayer money to private schools. | N.C. Justice information page and filings: Hart v. State of North Carolina
NPR: The Supreme Court agreed Monday to Sen. Mitch McConnell’s request to let Senate Republicans participate in the high-profile case Noel Canning v. National Labor Relations Board.
News Observer: The state teachers organization and the N.C. Justice Center say they will file a lawsuit Wednesday over what they are calling “unconstitutional school legislation.”
Blog of the Legal Times: As a result, the argument in NLRB v. Noel Canning will run 90 minutes instead of the usual 60. Miguel Estrada of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher had asked the court on November 25 for additional time on behalf of his client Sen. Mitch McConnell, (R-Kentucky) and 44 other senators who object to Obama’s appointments.
Volokh Conspiracy: Last week, I joined with Michael Ramsey (San Diego) Michael Rappaport (San Diego), Chris Green (Mississippi), Gary Lawson (Boston University), John McGinnis (Northwestern) and Todd Zywicki (George Mason) on an amicus Brief of Originalist Scholars in NLRB v. Noel Canning.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Supreme Court justices raised the prospect Monday of quickly blocking a Dane County judge’s decision that found unconstitutional Gov. Scott Walker’s limits on collective bargaining for public workers.
National Review Bench Memos: On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case involving the rights of employees targeted in a unionization drive. Unions, plagued by decades of declining membership, obviously have a keen interest in the outcome of Unite Here Local 356 v. Mulhall. So, too, does the Obama administration, which filed a strong brief on behalf of organized labor that told the Court, in essence, “nothing to see here.”
AP: A Madison judge on Monday found Wisconsin labor relations officials in contempt for enforcing parts of Gov. Scott Walker’s contentious bargaining restrictions despite a ruling that they’re unconstitutional, clearing the way for hundreds of school district and municipal worker unions to negotiate with their employers again.
Wall Street Journal Video: Wonder Land columnist Dan Henninger on the reaction to Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio’s opposition to school choice.
Kevin Chavous at Wall Street Journal (access via Google): I’ve experienced firsthand the tensions between paying bills racked up in the past and honoring the obligations we have to young students in the present and future. It is deeply unfair to settle adult disputes over pension obligations and fiscal mismanagement on the backs of school children who weren’t even alive when the problems were created. In D.C., we chose to put our children first. Other cities can do the same. How? By unleashing parental choice in education.
Constitutional Law Prof Blog: The Supreme Court today agreed to hear a case pitting mandatory union fees for non-members against non-members’ free speech and free association rights. The case, Harris v. Quinn, is the second time in recent years that the Court will consider the issue. (Our original post on Harris is here.) And if the signals from its first case, Knox v. SEIU, are any indication, we can expect that the Court will continue to chip away at, even eviscerate, public-sector union power.
Two organizations providing California teachers with info about dumping unions, getting rebates on dues
Education News: The California Public Policy Center and California Teachers Empowerment Network have announced the kickoff of a two-month information campaign to inform teachers of their little-known options. They will let educators who belong to the California Teachers Association know they can receive a $300-$400 rebate on dues used for political purposes if they drop their union memberships.
NY Times: According to officials briefed on the call, the president voiced concern about labor’s criticisms, prompting the union federation’s leader, Richard Trumka, to promise that he would try to soften the harshly worded resolutions that several unions planned to push at this week’s A.F.L.-C.I.O. convention in Los Angeles.
The Hill: A top labor official is pushing the AFL-CIO to ratchet up its criticism of ObamaCare at its annual convention. Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), on Tuesday said a draft resolution that bashes the healthcare law doesn’t go far enough.
The Hill: “The health insurance provisions,” the groups wrote in a letter dated Friday, “will undermine the successful, longstanding Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and increase costs for millions of federal employees, retirees and their families.”
Rich Lowry at National Review: The old segregationist Louisiana pol William M. Rainach would be mystified, but impressed. Back in his day, in the 1950s, locking black kids into inferior schools was a simple matter of racial prejudice. He’d surely marvel that six decades later, the nation’s first African-American attorney general had found a way to do it in the name of desegregation.
AP: Over the years the unions developed a virtual lock on teacher hiring and promotion. Almost every new teacher must go through a union to gain a school assignment, a practice that has spawned notorious levels of corruption, including the sale and inheritance of teaching positions.
Townhall: AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka received some tough news on Labor Day: his union just lost 40,000 members over his support for Obamacare. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union officially decided to cut ties over the legislation, but it isn’t for the reasons you may think.
AP: After their efforts to legalize gay marriage fizzled in Illinois this year, advocates gave their campaign a serious makeover: They called on unions, focused longer-term and recalibrated their message by using personal stories instead of civil rights comparisons.
Mark Steyn at NRO: The Obamacare monstrosity blends all the worst aspects of a private system (bureaucracy, restricted access, co-pays) with all the worst aspects of a government system (bureaucracy, restricted access, IRS agents) and sucks up twice as much GDP, ever less of which is spent on “health care” and ever more on the intervening layers of third, fourth, fifth, and sixth parties.
NY Times: Cities and towns across the country are pushing municipal unions to accept cheaper health benefits in anticipation of a component of the Affordable Care Act that will tax expensive plans starting in 2018.
AP: With union membership on the decline, labor leaders are getting more creative – and some say more desperate – to boost sagging numbers and rebuild their waning clout.
CNSNews: Federal employees were paid more than $155 million of taxpayer dollars in 2011 for spending more than 3.4 million hours of “official time” on labor union activities that fell outside their assigned government duties, according to a survey by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
A total of 44 NEA state affiliates lost members since 2008-09, including 22 with double-digit percentage losses
Education News: But union finances will only take a moderate hit, since NEA leaders decided to raise individual members dues by $3 per year to make up for the loss in revenue.
Washington Post: A coalition of civil rights groups is launching a $2 million campaign aimed at mobilizing support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which has languished on Capitol Hill for nearly two decades. The coalition, called Americans for Workplace Opportunity . . .
ACLU: Over the years, the American Civil Liberties has made enemies among the national security state, the religious right, and conservative legislatures across the country. But now it faces opposition from an unexpected corner: its own employees. For the past four months, ACLU management has been engaged in contract negotiations with the union representing its assistant legal staff, administrative assistants, and other support staff.
National Review: “I know he’s watching this,” the Detroit News quotes Aquilina saying, noting that she predicted that Obama would eventually step in and take action.
Bloomberg: Two Detroit pension funds sued the city’s emergency manager and the governor of Michigan, asking that a court find a bankruptcy filing would conflict with the state’s constitutional protection of public retirees’ rights.
The Hill: The Senate on Thursday voted 54-46 to confirm Tom Perez as secretary of Labor. It was a party-line vote, with no Republicans supporting President Obama’s nominee.
Wall Street Journal: They did so, moreover, to serve AFL-CIO chief Trumka, who all but ordered Mr. Reid to threaten the nuclear option. Big Labor desperately wants a quorum of at least three National Labor Relations Board nominees to keep issuing pro-union orders that have become the NLRB’s standard operating procedure in the Obama years.
The Hill: Obama picked Nancy Schiffer, a former associate general counsel to the AFL-CIO, and Kent Hirozawa, chief counsel to NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce, to be members of the labor board.
Echr: Respect For The Church’s Freedom Justifies The Non-recognition By The State Of A Priests’ Union
Turtle Bay and Beyond: This July 9, 2013, in the case Sindicatul “Păstorul cel Bun” v. Romania (No. 2330/09), the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights delivered a highly anticipated judgment about the freedom of churches to operate under their own rules, without arbitrary interference from the State, i.e. in accordance with the principle of autonomy of churches.
Heritage Foundation: Employees in right-to-work states can forgo all union dues. Workers with religious objections to their unions’ activities—such as the American Federation of Teachers’ support for abortion—can send their dues to a charity instead. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation provides a quick and easy overview of workers’ rights on its website.
Religion Clause Blog: Yesterday in Sindicatul “Pastorul Cel Bun” v. Romania, (ECHR, July 9, 2013), the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in a 11-6 decision upheld a Romanian County Court’s denial of registration to a trade union formed by priests of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Wall Street Journal Video: National Review media editor Eliana Johnson on recently released documents that reveal the IRS paid more than 200 employees to work full-time for a federal employees’ union.
A union leader has told teachers that disagreeing with gay marriage could be like racism and carries a risk of disciplinary action. Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association acting general secretary, Alan McKenzie, said teachers who are against gay marriage should “watch what they say at work”.
Sens. Tester & Murphy’s Constitutional Amendment Would Strip Rights from Corporate-Owned Newspapers, Advocacy Groups, Etc.
Eugene Volokh at Volokh Conspiracy: The proposed amendment would authorize Congress, states, and local governments to, for instance, (1) restrict what most newspapers publish, (2) restrict what most advocacy groups, such as the ACLU, the Sierra Club, and the NRA, say, (3) restrict what is said and done by most churches, and (4) seize the property of corporations without just compensation. (It might also allow restrictions on the speech of unions, depending on whether they are seen as “corporate entities.”)
The College Fix: Robert Anderson, an associate professor at Pepperdine University School of Law, has uncovered that among the 47 attorneys at the U.S. Department of Education who donated money to a candidate in last year’s presidential election, 47 of them donated to Barack Obama – or all of them, basically.
American Federation for Children: The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, today criticized the New Jersey Education Commissioner Chris Cerf for depriving students of vital educational options by refusing to authorize two virtual new charter schools. Both charter schools had received conditional approval and spent a year ensuring they met every requirement, only to have Cerf deny their approval.
Kathryn Jean Lopez at NRO: There was an oddly timed Memorial Day piece in the New York Times appearing to dismiss the voice of the Catholic Church – and specifically Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York — on religious freedom. It actually bolsters the Church’s case.
AP: But some unions leaders have grown frustrated and angry about what they say are unexpected consequences of the new law – problems that they say could jeopardize the health benefits offered to millions of their members.
Jeffrey Lord at the American Spectator: March 31, 2010. According to the White House Visitors Log, provided here in searchable form by U.S. News and World Report, the president of the anti-Tea Party National Treasury Employees Union, Colleen Kelley, visited the White House at 12:30pm that Wednesday noon time of March 31st.
AP: A gay teacher challenging her firing by an Ohio Catholic school says the local union for Catholic educators has decided not to proceed with her complaint.
Education Week: A federal appeals court on Thursday reinstated a Michigan law that bars school districts from deducting teachers’ union dues for their employees. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, ruled 2-1 that the state’s Act 53, a 2012 measure that by its own terms was meant as “a check on union power,” likely does not violate the free speech or equal protection rights of teachers’ unions.
The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, today urged the Louisiana Legislature and Governor to find a legislative solution after the Louisiana Supreme Court struck down the current funding mechanism for state’s voucher program. The Court only ruled against the funding of the voucher program and did not strike down the constitutionality of the program.
Jonathan Adler at the Volokh Conspiracy: his morning, a unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in National Association of Manufacturers v. National Labor Relations Board, struck down a new NLRB regulation requiring employers to post a notice of employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act on their properties and websites.
EagNews.org: We’ve seen a growing number of local unions break ties with state and national unions in K-12 school districts in recent years. Now unionized college employees are getting in the act.
NRO (includes video): Amidst a controversy over the widespread education-reform project Governor Bobby Jindal has begun in Louisiana, the head of the state’s largest teachers’ union has essentially claimed that children belong to teachers’ unions as much as they do their parents.
Washington Examiners: The teachers, represented by the Los Angeles-based Center for Individual Rights, claim that California’s so-called “agency shop” law violates their free speech and free assembly rights and forces them to cough up $1,000 to pay for the union’s mostly Democratic political activities.
Houston Chronicle: Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has issued an opinion stating that local governments and school districts that offer marriage benefits to same-sex partners are violating the state constitution.
EagNews.org: Leaders of a deeply troubled Pennsylvania school district are considering a plan to convert all of its individual schools into charters beginning next fall – an immediate and sweeping change that’s never been attempted before in American K-12 history.
Appellate Daily: The Benedictine monks of St. Joseph Abbey in southern Louisiana make and sell wooden caskets to support their monastery. State regulators are not happy about it, though, because they say the monks need a license.
NewsObserver: North Carolina’s 115 public school systems would lose the right to take their local board of county commissioners to court for more funding under a bill filed in the state Senate.
NCPA Policy Digest: In states where online education has been implemented, local and state teachers unions have challenged virtual education in court by seeking to limit enrollment in the charter schools that utilize the technology, by pushing for virtual schools to be closed and by seeking to limit enrollment to students who live “in district,” despite that defeating the benefits of the Internet.
NCPA Policy Digest: Taxpayers around the country will soon be grappling with massive amounts of debt they had no idea they were responsible for. The hidden debt is the result of $7.3 billion in promises that were made by state legislators but never approved by taxpayers, says Steven Malanga, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
Fox News: Maryland lawmakers agreed this week to require public school teachers to pay union fees – a move that bolsters the state’s connection to organized labor as others move toward a right-to-work status.
Washington Post: The effort reflects a new White House effort to tilt in its favor the conservative-dominated U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is one notch below the Supreme Court and considers many challenges to executive actions.
OR: Math Teacher Escorted Out By Police, Set To Be Fired For Opposing Planned Parenthood In The Classroom
The Blaze (includes video): An Oregon public school teacher says he’s on the verge of being fired because of his outspoken views against Planned Parenthood and abortion.
Tallahassee.com: That is why, as president of the NFL Players Association, I’m standing with the majority of Americans who support the freedom to marry. This simple endorsement of equality might surprise some people.
Heritage Foundation: In a new paper, Heritage expert Jason Richwine reveals that “Proper accounting would reveal tens of billions of dollars in extra teacher pension costs, equivalent to somewhere around $1,000 in unreported spending per student.”
Charter Schools: What a Recent Labor-Relations Decision Teaches Us About the Meaning of “Public” and “Private”
Alexander Volokh at Reason Foundation: Contracting with a private corporation to deliver an activity may alter the labor-management relations regime and the ADA regime but not the RLUIPA regime. The constitutional state-action regime may be unchanged with respect to the population served, but may be radically different with respect to hiring and firing decisions. What other regimes are altered may also depend on what conditions the contractor committed to fulfill in its contract. How, then, do we define “public” vs. “private,” “government” vs. “private sector,” “instrumentality of government” vs. “mere contractor”, “state actor” vs. “private actor”? We don’t. Each of these terms is a shorthand designating a broad set of attributes, and contracting out is all about exploring the limits of these concepts. For any given statute or constitutional provision, different rules might be appropriate in different contexts.
American Federation for Children: The American Federation for Children—the nation’s voice for educational choice— today applauded the hundreds of Louisiana parents, grandparents, and education reform advocates who traveled across the state to gather outside of the Louisiana Supreme Court in New Orleans to show their support of the Louisiana Scholarship Program.
The American Federation for Children—the nation’s voice for educational choice—today applauded the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that lifted the temporary restraining order placed on the Alabama Accountability Act in response to a lawsuit filed by the Alabama Education Association last week. The lawsuit was filed in an effort to prevent Governor Robert Bentley from signing the legislation that includes a new tax credit scholarship into law.
Education News: The split is the result of chronic differences over money, support and communications, not only between UHPA and NEA, but between UHPA and HSTA, who often do not see eye-to-eye on union issues. In a February 2012 memo, UHPA executive director J.N. Musto laid out the arguments for disaffiliation that centered on value added for money spent.