A Supreme Court Vacancy: No Time to Rest Easy

IB Image
During oral arguments in the Friedrichs case last month, Justice Scalia asked questions and made comments from the bench revealing his likely opposition to preserving our rights to work together. But with his passing, most experts believe the high court would deadlock over upholding or overturning legal precedent for public sector unions to collect "fair share" fees from non-members. 
 
Click here for our previous update on the case.
 
If the case is to be re-argued once a replacement for Justice Scalia is seated, that may not be until after the 2016 presidential election. Congressional Republicans -- who control both the U.S. House and Senate -- have over the past three days repeatedly said they would not confirm any nominee that President Obama puts forward.
 
That elevates the importance of what was already going to be a vitally important election on November 8. The next president may end up deciding the "tie-breaker" in a re-argued Friedrichs lawsuit in a future Supreme Court term. And they may decide the direction of the nation's high court and the outcome of future attacks on working families by wealthy special interests.
 
Click here for more on our national union's efforts to mobilize members for the 2016 election.
 
The financial crisis for our unions that an anti-worker decision in the Friedrichs lawsuit would have caused has been averted for now -- but we cannot afford return to complacency.
 
Today in Connecticut we face a great number of challenges. The governor's proposed budget puts all the responsibility for closing shortfalls on state employees and working families while failing to ask millionaires and profitable corporations to pay their fair share. His proposal also shifts more of the costs of public education and other vital services to local towns, threatening higher property taxes for all working families.
 
Click here for an early analysis of the governor's proposed state budget.
 
At the same legislators have again introduced bills that would roll-back state employees' rights to negotiate retirement security and healthcare for themselves and their families. Many lawmakers and local officials still refuse to hear the voices of teachers and school support staff on educational issues. Nurses and health professionals face daily threats to both their rights and their ability to advocate by hospital executives and managers. 
 
And with the political clamoring in Congress and on the campaign trail in the days since Justice Scalia's passing, we see clearly how elections truly do matter. President Obama’s successor in the White House can shape the Supreme Court fairly or continue the tilt toward a brand of political extremism that trumps judicial common sense.
 
Click here for press coverage of the political battle over the high court's vacancy.
 
We must face these challenges together. Only by building a strong collective voice can we be successful. Our national union's call to reach every member and increase activism is as important today as it was when a defeat in the Supreme Court seemed inevitable.
 
We are not alone is these challenges. Our sisters and brothers across Connecticut and the nation are in the same fight. Our partners in labor and our communities must join together to recapture a vision of this country in which everyone can succeed, not just the 1%. 
 
Click here for press coverage of our efforts to unite with natural allies to advocate for better budget choices.
 
It is not enough for unions to simply survive. Our goal must be to revitalize the labor movement so we can create real social change.