More on FriedrichsComments
It’s worth remembering that the stunted legal attack on public sector unions should be seen as part of a larger attempt to create self-perpetuating Republican statehouses:
Today’s decision, first of all, underscores the importance of the elections in November. There are many areas of the law where the difference between a swing vote on the supreme court appointed by Republican and Democratic president is huge. This case is a classic example. Virtually any justice nominated by a Democratic president would reject the argument that the first amendment forbids public sector agency shops, and almost any Republican-nominated judge would accept it. And it’s not just the presidential election that matters, either. If Democrats maintain control of the White House and recapture the Senate, president Clinton or Sanders will almost certainly be able to name Scalia’s replacement. If a Democratic president faces off with a Republican-controlled Senate, though, all bets are off.
In addition, today’s case is about a broader political war. The Republican attack on public sector unions, in both state legislatures and the courts, is in large measure an attack on a major Democratic constituency. Making it more difficult for public sector workers to organize helps to produce self-perpetuating majorities at the state level, particularly combined with Republican vote suppression efforts. The at least temporary loss of the Republican supreme court majority, however, has made these efforts more difficult. And if the next median vote on the supreme court is selected by a Democratic president, the red tide at the state level might start to recede.