Conservative critics regularly assail the University of California for its cartoonish devotion to diversity and the latest fads in political correctness. Mocking UC is practically Heather Mac Donald’s beat at City Journal and UC President Janet Napolitano’s recent campaign against “microaggressions”—including the allegedly offensive statement “America is the land of opportunity”—was roundly condemned by commentators across the spectrum, even the left-leaning Los Angeles Times. We expect as much from California, led by Governor Moonbeam, but what are we to make of the University of Texas at Austin’s increasingly desperate attempt to follow in UC Berkeley’s footsteps?
Candidate Donald Trump’s recent proclamation that he is opposed to so-called “birthright citizenship” for the offspring of illegal aliens born in the United States has, like many of his campaign statements, set off hysterical paroxysms of outrage and protest. I do not support Donald Trump for President, but much of his appeal lies in the fact that he is willing to address taboo subjects in a way that the public—tired of candidates and elected officials cowed by rigid protocols of political correctness—finds refreshing. The topic of “birthright citizenship” is a perfect example.
My first two posts in this series discussed, respectively, the origins of the concept of “exclusive representation” in the NLRA and the Supreme Court case law leading up to Abood in 1977. In this post, I will analyze the decision in Abood (which, it will be recalled, was roundly criticized in Harris v. Quinn (2014) and may be overruled in Friedrichs).
My first post delved briefly into the history and significance of the concept of “exclusive representation” in labor law. This post will explore the even more dubious application of the NLRA (private sector) model of collective bargaining (including exclusive representation) to the public sector.
With this series of posts, I return to constitutional law issues that SCOTUS will address in the 2015-16 term. One case in particular—Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association—is hugely important and has already generated a great deal of commentary. This site recently hosted an excellent Liberty Forum on the topic, Friedrichs, which involves a constitutional challenge to the compulsory payment of union dues by public employees, promises to be one of the most closely-watched cases next term.
Sticking with the state court theme of my last series of posts, I now turn to what Governor Jerry Brown is doing with judicial appointments in California.
My previous posts on this topic, I & II, reflected on the reasoning and fallout from the judicial mandating of parity in school funding in the Lone Star State. In this final post on the topic of Edgewood, I will elaborate on the unfortunate legacy of that decision, and speculate about the reasons for its continued vitality as a precedent.
Judicial activism is bad in the abstract because it alters the proper balance of power among the branches of government, diminishes democracy, and abuses the rule of law. In the case of Edgewood, the problems are not just abstract, but concrete.
My first post underscored how state courts became the next stronghold of judicial activism after the Warren Court. This has been particularly true with regard to school funding measures. In Texas, the school funding fiasco was unleashed by judicial creativity in order to get an egalitarian result.
Amid all the controversy surrounding the recent SCOTUS decisions, it is easy to forget that federal courts do not have a monopoly on judicial activism. State courts—and in particular state supreme courts—can and do make bad decisions, often cleverly insulating themselves from further appellate review by resting their decisions on “independent state grounds.”
Leading up to Justice Kennedy’s fateful 5-4 decision, there was plenty of debate on both sides, and the proponents of same-sex marriage emphasized that they just wanted to be treated the same as heterosexual couples. They even coined the deceptively simple slogan, “Marriage Equality.” That was then.