Card Check and the Constitution: Now This is Rich

By December 26, 2008Briefly Legal, Labor Unions

(Correction: We misidentified Connell as a man in the original post and have now corrected the gender-specific references. I apologize for the mistake. All the other points stand.)

At the AFL-CIO blog today, labor gal Tula Connell reacts to the arguments by University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein (published recently in the Wall Street Journal) that the Employee Free Choice Act is unconstitutional. Connell doesn’t really respond or argue against Epstein’s legal case, she insults and then changes the subject. And then there’s this:

Some opponents of workers’ freedom to form unions seem to have forgotten that forming groups outside government—and corporate—purview is critical to a free nation. In Big Brother-speak, these corporate hacks are attacking the proposed Employee Free Choice Act—which would enable more workers to have the freedom to form unions—as unconstitutional.

“Big Brother-speak?” Snort. That term comes from a proponent of the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill designed to DEPRIVE workers of the free choice made possible by a secret ballot.

Connell’s basic message is war is peace, and now she’s accusing opponents of using Orwellian rhetoric!  

It’s as if she believes ignorance is strength.

Connell also calls Richard Epstein a “corporate hack.” Richard Epstein? Principled disagreement based on law and philosophy is apparently impossible in Connell’s world. But as we’ve said before, organized labor often goes too far, prefering to bully and shout instead of engage. Well, in the case of the Employee Free Choice Act that approach makes political sense, because labor can’t win on the merits. Better change the subject.

Which explains why Connell all but ignores the constitutional arguments made by Epstein. If we read it right, she suggests that freedom of association always trumps all other constitutional considerations, including freedom of speech. That’s not how we understand the law. But then, in Connell’s Oceanic world, freedom is slavery, so maybe there it does.

UPDATE (11:30 p.m.): Michael Janson, who recently earned a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, disagrees with Epstein, arguing on the merits in this letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Mariya Strauss says:

    This empty, meaningless attack is rendered even more irrelevant by the fact that you got Ms. Connell’s gender wrong. Do your homework, next time, NAM. Also: When we win the Employee Free Choice Act, maybe you’ll understand why it pays to research your opposition rather than merely snorting with unconvincing–and uninformed–condescension.

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