Well it was fabulous day for the right wing as the corporatist packed Supreme Court handed down a couple of more decisions designed to hurt real people and “protect freedom”.
The first case was Harris v. Quinn – the Supreme Court decision took a hammer to public sector unionism.
The case dealt with home care workers who care for the disabled. The plaintiff, Pamela Harris cares for her son Josh, who has a rare genetic defect, at home. I know from where she speaks – my wife cared for our profoundly disabled son for ten years until he died in 1985.
We received no help back then. No one paid my wife for caring for our son.
Times have changed. Today home care workers are paid through Medicaid. Most home care workers do this full time serving a number of patients; those who care for their own children can also qualify for Medicaid payments. Certain licenses may be necessary in different states but a parent taking care of a severely disabled child at home can receive payments to do so.
Pamela Harris was one such mom.
In Illinois, where she lived, home care workers had been organized into a union which negotiated with the state for the hourly wage for both union members and non-members – from which representation Pamela Harris directly benefited notwithstanding that she was not a union member. The union wanted her to pay union dues in the form of “agency fees”, which underwrite the cost of representation of all home care workers. The State of Illinois considered Ms. Harris a part time employee of the state government since she was being paid with state Medicaid funds.
Pamela Harris refused and, supported by the “National Right to Work Defense Foundation”, an anti-union group, sued on the grounds that forcing her to pay union dues violated her First Amendment rights.
SCOTUS, reversing the lower courts, sided with Ms. Harris deciding 5 -4 that she didn’t have to pay anything to the union that won her hourly wages to care for her own son – and presumably neither does anyone else. So, no need to join any public sector union or pay any dues if you can continue to work and receive the benefits negotiated by the union. Just opt out.
Ms. Harris should be ashamed of herself but I’m sure she’s not. She can continue the hypocrisy of serving right-wing causes while taking medicaid money gotten for her by a union as payment for caring for her own son. Maybe it was all a right to work set-up from the beginning. My wife and I would have gladly paid union dues if she had gotten paid for caring for our son.
In the second case, Hobby Lobby argued that requiring it to cover birth control for its women employees under Obamacare violated its “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Now Hobby Lobby is a profit making corporation, owned by the Mennonites. It employs many women who are not Mennonites. Hobby Lobby is not a church nor an affiliated church hospital or school or non-profit. Obama already caved and gave those folks exemptions. Hobby Lobby is a profit making CORPORATION – no different than half of the closely held small businesses in the United States.
I didn’t know that Hobby Lobby had religious principles; it’s owners might but Hobby Lobby sure don’t. Corporations are not people – except if you are a corporatist Supreme Court Justice.
Sorry ladies. I’m sure many small companies will suddenly “find religion” leaving you to pay for your own birth control.
Good thing Hobby Lobby wasn’t owned by Christian Scientists – you might be paying for your own health insurance or blood transfusions since the only cure they believe in is prayer.
Sometimes, to quote Dickens – “the law is an ass”.
As for our Supreme Court, this group will go down in history with the Dred Scott Court. I would like to particularly thank my paisani, Scalia and Alito for their deep thinking on these issues. We Italians know fascists when we see ‘em.