Supreme Court

SCOTUS Divides 4-4 in Public-Sector Union Dues Case, Affirms Pro-Union Lower Court Decision

Supreme Court decides Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association.

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Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 4-4 decision in the case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. At issue was whether public-school teachers may be forced, as a condition of government employment, to pay mandatory union fees, even when the teachers are not union members. The upshot of today's decision is that the mandatory union fee scheme remains firmly in place.

After the January oral arguments in this case, most Court watchers expected a different outcome, predicting that California teacher Rebecca Friedrichs would prevail on First Amendment grounds. As Friedrichs and her lawyers argued, and as a majority of the justices seemed ready to agree, "just as the government cannot compel political speech or association generally, it cannot mandate political speech or association as a condition of employment."

But that was before the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. With Scalia gone, the balance in this case likely shifted from 5-4 in Friedrich's favor to an even 4-4 split. And when the Court splits 4-4, the result is that the lower court ruling in the case is affirmed. In this case, that means the California Teachers Association's victory before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit remains standing.

Today's decision is therefore a bitter defeat for critics of public-sector unionism.

Click below to watch Reason.tv's interview with Rebecca Friedrichs.

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  1. The leftwing justices’ legal arguments – FYTW.

    1. That usually sums up most SCOTUS rulings, actually.

  2. Penaltax.

  3. I think this makes it pretty clear who’s really in charge of California and similar one-party states.

    1. The obstructionist Rethuglikkkans?

  4. Not only is there no analysis of the decision, you’re not even going to mention briefly the basis of the ruling? And the link is a one-page PDF that says nothing but that the lower court’s ruling is affirmed. Jeez.

    1. There doesn’t seem to be any written opinions on either side of the decision, and Damon isn’t a prosecutor, so he probably lacks the ability to see into peoples’ souls.

      1. He could have noted that that really was the entire ruling. I had to find that out elsewhere.

        1. He’s not going to enact that labor for you, Nicole

      2. So we don’t know who upheld and who overturned?

        1. I’ve checked every source I know and they don’t seem to have released that information. It shouldn’t be too hard to guess if you follow the Supreme Court closely, which I don’t.

        2. The forces of darkness: Upheld.

          The forces of light: overturned.

        3. I bet you can guess…

    2. This is how they announce 4-4 ties.

      Get used to it.

    3. First Amendment grounds? What about the 13th Amendment? Why do teachers have to involuntarily serve union masters?

      1. BFYTW.

      2. They don’t have to. They can just quit and go home.

        That’s the progressive reasoning for how this isn’t a violation of anyone’s rights. When they say you have rights, they mean you have the right to sit in your apartment and think or say quietly whatever you want; once you step outside to go to work, or anywhere else, you’re in the public domain, and you can either obey the catechism, or get the fuck back inside.

    4. It’s customary to just issue a one-sentence order in these kinds of cases – “affirmed by an equally-divided court.”

      I presume that’s what they did here.

    5. It was beyond the capability of the reporter to tell us which justices voted Aye and Nay.
      We all pretty much know, but it would have been nice to see it in writing.

    6. It was beyond the capability of the reporter to tell us which justices voted Aye and Nay.
      We all pretty much know, but it would have been nice to see it in writing.

  5. And why shouldn’t all teachers be members of the union?

    The model for teaching kids to succeed must look like the model for how factory workers get sufficient pay and benefits for successfully processing widgets. Because it’s all we know.

      1. War is Peace
        Freedom is Slavery
        Ignorance is Strength

      2. The only practical difference between then and now is that the current system is several orders of magnitude more expensive.

        Progress!

    1. I’m not quite sure how unionizing teachers significantly impacts the education of children. Unionizing teachers affects wages, workplace conditions, and the administrative work, whereas the standard for a “success-oriented education” is more likely to be affected by the socioeconomic backgrounds of students. The model for education is intertwined with, but not identical to, the model for negotiating between labor and management.

      1. Well what happens when a teacher sucks and can’t get fired? In what way does that not impact the education of children?

        Assuming that a government backed union is driving up wages artificially and that the accesible resources in this universe are finite, what amenities are schools forgoing in order to pay teachers those higher wages? How does that not impact a child’s education?

        1. How do you define how a teacher “sucks”? By standardized test scores? Complaints/reviews by parents and students? % of students who pass the course? There is no established standard for judging teacher quality other than ethics (not fucking the kids, not cheating on tests, etc.), and maybe their certification course.

          Also, is there any conclusive proof that teacher quality (however you define it) is the primary influence on student achievement (however you define that)? I’d say that socioeconomic factors are a much bigger influence on a student’s educational path than whether or not their teacher is a fucking loser.

          And how does a government-backed union (which itself is somewhat dubious) artificially drive up wages when there is no established market for teachers’ wages? Unless you compare the wages of public school teachers to private school (or charter school) teachers, there is no established market wage for a teacher since the overwhelming majority of school teachers (87%) work in pubic schools?

          http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=28

          1. “How do you define how a teacher “sucks”?”

            nowadays i just assume the authorities determine the severity of any kind of sexual act.

          2. If teacher value is something that can’t be measured, then how do they justify bargaining for more wages?

            If there’s no way to measure their performance or quality, or to even assume they influence student achievement, then why have them in the first place?

            These seem like great arguments for paying teachers less, not more.

            1. Well, one could make the rational choice argument where teachers justify their bargains by simply asserting their ability to do so. I however would argue that teachers should be allowed to do because it is part of the First Amendment rights to engage in “political speech”, in this case engaging in bargaining matters over wages, benefits, and the dynamics of power between labor and management (which is inherently political, as Ms. Friedrichs asserts).

              Now you might argue that this is a flawed argument because of how unions require mandatory agency fees on workers who may not necessarily want to be unionized due to current labor law. And indeed it is. But why would this not invalidate the recent Citizens United case, where the general funds of corporations may be diverted to independent campaign expenditures, funds that belong to the shareholders and are being used without their consent?

              1. Well, one could make the rational choice argument where teachers justify their bargains by simply asserting their ability to do so….Now you might argue that this is a flawed argument because of how unions require

                No, I would say that it’s a flawed argument in that it’s completely circular, and assumes that anyone who asserts their ability to do something obtains “justification”.

                Also, I would say that it’s a flawed argument because, instead of explaining how teachers would be justified in bargaining for higher wages, you’re simply explaining that it’s their right to ask.

                Justified implies proven to be correct or reasonable. “I can’t measure my value, but I assure you, I should get more pay” is an interesting argument, and one has the right to make it, but it seems hardly reasonable or proven correct.

                But why would this not invalidate the recent Citizens United case, where the general funds of corporations may be diverted to independent campaign expenditures, funds that belong to the shareholders and are being used without their consent?

                I don’t know. why would this ruling validate or invalidate Citizens United?

              2. Teacher identified…

          3. So, because we can’t find a perfect standard for quality, we may as well use no standard at all? That’s terrible reasoning Gracchus. Even an imperfect standard like test scores is still better than no standard at all, which we definitely know unfairly rewards bad teachers and thereby punishes good teachers.

            And there are ways to infer the market wage of a teacher. Teachers are one of the only professions where practitioners, on average, get paid less in their next job than their previous job (that is, when they were teachers); suggesting the experience accrued in the occupation to other fields relative to the field itself is generally less valuable than for almost any other field relative. This is a pretty good indicator that teachers are, in general, overpaid. And the fact that there’s simultaneously a shortage of teachers and an excess supply of people qualified to teach also suggests unions’ monopoly on the labor market has indeed artificially inflated wages and simultaneously limited supply.

            And btw, you basically make the case for why we should scale back the government monopoly on education; it would allow compensation to better approach the market wage.

            1. The point is not that we shouldn’t have standards; it’s just that the standards often troped out in defense of the “lazy overpaid teachers'” argument aren’t necessarily the best ones for gauging teacher productivity. Test scores are rather useless in determining a teacher’s skill set, let alone the student’s academic performance.

              As for your inference on a teacher’s “market wage”, the fact that teacher’s get paid less on their next job could mean any number of things. It could imply that the skills accrued while teaching are not transferable to many other fields; that does not necessarily indicate that they are less valuable per se, but merely that they aren’t very applicable to a great many fields. And according to the link I cited several posts above, average teacher salary has stagnated since the 1990s when adjusted for inflation, which undermines the “overpaid” aspect of teacher’s salaries.

              Finally, my “case” for scaling back government control over education only works if one WANTS compensation to approximate the market wage, which I don’t (I’m not much a fan of markets in general, as Brian can attest to).

              1. I fully attest: Gracchus doesn’t like markets.

                Also, figuring out why is pretty confusing.

              2. But teachers unions generally oppose any standards simply because they’re imperfect. And if it’s true (it isn’t, but I’ll play along) that test scores are completely useless in inferring teacher quality, then that means they are exactly as good as having no standards at all. Unless of course you think test score correlate negatively with teacher quality.

                That’s fine if you’re not a fan of markets. If you think employees at a store deserve more money, you’re welcome to pay them extra yourself. But I like the market economy, because I like the immeasurable prosperity it’s brought to the world, as does anyone remotely familiar with history of command economies. Feel free to go live in a commune where everyone agrees to have prices set by a central authority. But please do let the rest of us live in a society where prices are determined by voluntary transaction instead of coercion.

                1. I would argue that test scores don’t correlate strongly towards inferring a given teacher’s quality; they’re much better at indicating how good students are at rote memorization. If you want a standard for teacher quality, you’d best stick to general ethics and/or complaints. Teachers, while crucial in facilitating education (for now), aren’t the biggest factor in student achievement; more structural factors such as poverty and social ills tend to take a larger role. That may indeed be a case for lowering teacher’s pay, although it would be balanced by other factors (teacher retention, workload, social utility, etc).
                  As to your second point, it’s fine if you like the market economy; never said it was useless Capitalism lifted us out of feudalism and facilitated a wondrous expansion in productivity, while also fostering globalization and expanding consumer choices. Unfortunately, the shift to the market economy comes with costs (TANSTAAFL): the genocide of indigenous peoples, enclosures, chattel slavery, imperialism, etc (basically all those Marxist platitudes). I’m simply of the belief that those costs are unacceptable; that the people who have to sacrifice for “progress” must have a say in how “progress” carries out (which I identify with socialism).
                  And by the way, prices aren’t necessarily determined by “voluntary transaction”, since such a transaction would imply that both consumers and producers have equal power/choice in the matter, which they rarely do.

                  1. Unfortunately, the shift to the market economy comes with costs (TANSTAAFL): the genocide of indigenous peoples, enclosures, chattel slavery, imperialism, etc (basically all those Marxist platitudes).

                    This perspective of history ignores both the similar failures of mankind in attempting to bring about socialism, as well as the successes and avoidance of these costs in terms of capitalism. History demonstrates that genocide, imperialism, etc, aren’t necessary for capitalism, so I see no need to throw it out in order to overcome them. If the only answer you can think of is socialism, then, I guess that’s as far as your imagination goes, but you’ve yet to really define that system, other than “distributing of goods and services by democracy.” That’s so vague as to be a fitting description of the status quo, so, where you think that’s going, I really don’t know. I hardly seems detailed enough to get some sense of overall likely well-being and justice.

                    1. And by the way, prices aren’t necessarily determined by “voluntary transaction”, since such a transaction would imply that both consumers and producers have equal power/choice in the matter, which they rarely do.

                      I never really understand this point, or the way that it’s taken.

                      In a socialist system, it’s hardly true that people obtain goods and services by voluntary transaction, so whatever voluntariness aren’t present in markets, I don’t see how socialism makes up for them. “Getting what democracy gives you” is hardly voluntary or equal.

                      Secondly, in a market economy, the degree to which market forces limit your choices is exactly the extend to which the other members of society influence you. A factory owner may want laborers who want to work for free, but he really doesn’t have that option. A laborer would like to work for $1 million/hour, but that’s not an option, not only because the investor doesn’t want to give it, but no one wants to buy widgets for $24 million/factory-man-day in factory wages.

                      I think that a free market distribution of goods and choices, among a population of varied value measures, it more democratic than some top-down version of socialism, derived from everyone voting. Voting is but one dimension of human behavior, most associated with its most violent tendencies for control and progress, through government force, as opposed to other dimensions, such as how they spend their time and money.

                    2. First off, how are you guys able to quote? I’m not familiar with commenting on this site (although I’ve been a casual reader for a while) so it’s driving me bonkers.

                      Second, history (at least the history I’ve looked at; there’s plenty of history to go around) suggests that genocide and slavery are at least somewhat integral to the development of capitalism over the past few hundred years; the gold and silver bullion mined by Indian slaves helped facilitate mercantilism, which is essentially a primitive form of capitalism (private agents, but subject to state regulations and controls). The Industrial Revolution in America was largely fueled by the Southern slave system, whose cotton was either exported to Europe in exchange for capital or sent to the burgeoning textile mills in New England. And most of the land that was used by railroading companies, industrial giants, etc (with the aid of corrupt and lucrative state subsidies and grants) was originally seized from the Indians by force. Etc.

                      Third, socialism (as I define it) involves the social ownership of the means of production (land, labor, capital), combined with worker’s self-management and distribution of goods and services according to need.

                    3. HTML tags.

                      [history] suggests that genocide and slavery are at least somewhat integral to the development of capitalism over the past few hundred years…

                      Yes, but this is also the history associated with your favorite social mechanism for decision-making (i.e., democracy), as well as the foundation for the social democracies that most socialist consider the closest incarnation of their desired society, not to mention the similar atrocities committed by ardent supporters of socialism and communism in Russia and China.

                      So the question is: why such a pessimistic view of capitalism due to history, that isn’t shown for either socialism or democracy?

                      Third, socialism (as I define it) involves the social ownership of the means of production (land, labor, capital), combined with worker’s self-management and distribution of goods and services according to need.

                      That’s an ideal. The capitalist ideal is people engaging in self-ownership, and, by extension of their self-ownership and their actions, peacefully cooperating voluntarily with others and exchanging goods and services.

                      In socialism, are people’s jobs distributed according to society’s needs? What if my concept of self-management doesn’t fit societies idea of what it needs? Are markets sufficient for society to engage in self-management and need-satisfaction? What if society is forced to choose between allowing self-management and satisfying everyone’s needs?

                    4. I hold such a view of capitalism mainly because of the contradiction between capitalist “ideals” and “reality”, as well as the rather elitist nature of most pro-capitalist movements throughout history. Most movements establishing capitalism prior to the 20th century involved wealthy merchants as well as a section of the aristocratic class (as well as soldiers and conquerors), whereas virtually all socialist movements prior to the 20th century have involved working-class people.
                      Capitalism is supposedly based on the ideals of self-ownership and voluntary exchange of goods and services. However, the very establishment of said system involves very much the opposite, as I pointed out before. Socialism is based on the ideals of participatory democracy, social ownership, and egalitarianism. Since revolutionary socialism calls for violent uprising, I’ll discount the violent revolution that is required at the outset. The legacies of the USSR, the PRC, the Viet Cong, Pol Pot, and Cuba (plus the Eastern Bloc) are a big negative, and for many they are the deciding one. But socialism has a number of historical positives in its favor: the anarcho-syndicalists during the Spanish Civil War, the Sandinistas (despite what the Reagan administration would have you believe), the initial phases of the Bolshevik and Spartacist uprisings (prevalence of workers’ councils), etc, all of which were crushed (\by the capitalists or by Stalinists and Fascists).

                    5. I think you’re using a rather cherry-picked version of history, assigning blame to capitalism and away from socialism in convenient expost-facto, post-hoc reasoning.

                      In a large part, the history of capitalism is the same as socialism. I don’t see how we give socialism a pass for history, but not capitalists, especially when the horrors usually have nothing to do with exchange of goods and services in markets, and have everything to do with democracy and government, which are apparently the pillars upon which socialist society must be built, apparently. That’s cherry-picking of the first order. Socialists don’t get a pass on their history by pretending they have little, frequently with the same problems and the same tendencies towards violence and oppression. People are people, and socialists aren’t brand new Soviet men, born only of the last century, with nothing before them.

                      I don’t give socialism a pass for violent revolution based solely on the assumption of the crimes of their oppressors. Any violent revolution that attempts to force a population into abandoning self-ownership in favor of social ownership is a violent offense against mankind. A worker’s dictatorship that violates self-ownership doesn’t get a pass because of a Czar, much less for setting the stage for a Stalin. A hierarchy chosen by the people to run the people is still control, not self-management, and no one should be surprised when it’s management of the people, not by the people.

                    6. It’s no surprise that the models that people hold up as good socialist examples (i.e., the Nordic model in Europe), just happen to be the social democracies that hold onto the most free-market capitalism.

                      Europeans give themselves a big pat on the back for their noble egalitarianism, with health care and family leave benefits. Never mind their history in the 20th century of embroiling the world in, not one, but two, world wars, killing millions of their own civilians, and featuring the most notorious human rights crises within living memory, some in the name of the party which called itself the National Socialists.

                      For some reason, the egalitarianism they pat themselves on the back for suddenly vanishes when it comes to treating Muslim immigrants equally. Instead, many Europeans are letting it be known that they consider immigrants second class citizens who shouldn’t get the same benefits as themselves, and should be sent back home as soon as possible, to go fix their own countries. In a society where benefits are distributed according to need, people showing up with needs means less for everyone else, so, apparently, the egalitarianism doesn’t go that far. And this isn’t even bringing up the rampant antiziganism in Europe, a form of racism so prevalent and accepted that it doesn’t even register for many of them as a vice, while people in the USA are hand-wringing over whether the Oscars are black enough.

                    7. If the idea is that socialism will work when everyone adopts a wondrous spirit of altruism and egalitarianism, well, then free markets will probably also satisfy all of your desires under those conditions, too. I see no need to jettison the concept of self-ownership, and to replace it with social ownership, based on that, much less to turn my back on the amazing progress in standards of living that have been brought about by free people exchanging goods and services in markets, as opposed to socialist experiments like Venezuela. If you like cherry-picking socialisms bright spots, I’m afraid there’s a big, blazing sun of capitalism that you just can’t see, primarily because it doesn’t give everyone social ownership of the means of production.

                    8. Did you really compare the Nazis to socialists? Come on, Brian; that’s just weak. The Nazis and the socialists are at opposite political poles (even if you buy into the whole horseshoe theory nonsense); one prioritizes proletarian internationalism, the other racist nationalism (and tends to embrace big business and monopoly capitalism). One advocates for social ownership, the other accepts private ownership and state controls. They’re as different as night and day.
                      Also, socialism isn’t predicated on a “change” in human nature or a sudden shift in human emotions. The socialist movement is propelled by the same force that propelled liberalism before it; the liberation of man from tyranny and dictatorship, whether from the state or the factory owner.
                      Finally, Europe is in no way an example of socialism, except to cowardly liberals who have to hide behind the label of “progressive” to avoid catastrophe. Social democracy may abound there, but it’s no worker’s paradise. The demise of radical left movements in the aftermath of the USSR’s dissolution and the turn towards “Third Way” politics and neoliberalism helped paved the way for the reactionary populism and bigotry that one sees there.

                    9. one prioritizes proletarian internationalism, the other racist nationalism (and tends to embrace big business and monopoly capitalism). One advocates for social ownership, the other accepts private ownership and state controls. They’re as different as night and day.

                      Yes, and there are many differences between imperialism and racism and capitalism, in that free markets don’t require or prioritize imperialism and the force relocation of native americans by democratically controlled US armed forces, etc. If capitalism has to answer for that, even though that’s not capitalism, why don’t socialists have to answer for the National Socialists? It’s in the name. They appealed in that direction while doing the horrible things.

                      The badness of the past is all due to capitalism, because convenient post-hoc ex-post-facto. Meanwhile, no true socialist would act like a National Socialist. This is the part where it seems like there’s clear double-standard cherry-picking.

                    10. You seem to be implying that capitalism NECESSARILY means liberalism or free markets, which it doesn’t. Historically, illiberal policies have been used to promote markets and capitalism; that’s not capitalist per se (mainly because capitalism is only an ECONOMIC system), but it did expand capitalism and help further the cause of the market society. Yes, capitalists have to answer for that in the same way that socialists have to answer for Stalinism, the Cultural Revolution, and the failures of Third World socialist nations, as well as some other stuff that I would go into but can’t because of that damned limit on comments. I’m not denying that there’s blood on my hands.
                      However, socialism has little to do with fascism, mainly because they are two completely different POLITICAL as well as economic systems/philosophies. The fascists appealed in many ways to many people; they appealed to the working class with socialist rhetoric to peel off Social Democrats and Communists while also appealing to capitalists with rearmament policies and crushing the trade unions. And when they seized power, the Nazis tended to support the big capitalists by crushing labor and granting lucrative contracts (although one could argue that the graft, red tape, and national directives negated most of the benefits). I still don’t see any definitive philosophical connection between National “socialism” and socialism.

                    11. You seem to be implying that capitalism NECESSARILY means liberalism or free markets, which it doesn’t.

                      I imply that the capitalist ideal is people exchanging goods and services, freely in markets, without violent coercion involved. Nothing else. I would say that the ideal means liberalism and free markets. Historically, I don’t remember too many “capitalist revolution” manifestos, along with their fallout. it’s easy for me to look at history and see what is consistent with that concept of capitalist ideals, just as well as you can look at history and see the ideals of socialist revolutions and their betrayal by their trustees.

                      Anyway, I deny that there’s any blood on my hands.

                      I’m a capitalist, and I’ve gone my whole life firmly embracing the concept of self-ownership and, by extension, private property rights, which I consider the foundation of capitalism in the first place. Capitalism is a conclusion, not a preferred model that’s supported ex post facto, to me.

                      I’ve sought nothing but voluntary cooperation with individuals around me. I don’t even vote, because I strongly renounce any endorsement of the political establishment or the government. Nor do I hold myself responsible for things that happened centuries in the past, since not only did I not do those things, but I am strongly against those things. I’m open to someone convincing me of guilt by association, but I would take some actual convincing.

                    12. Actually, the horrors of capitalism DO have to do with exchange of goods and services; the slave trade is an obvious example of selling goods (in this case, human beings) in a market setting. The cotton produced by said slaves was also traded in a market setting, as was the gold and silver that Indian slaves mined in the Old World. As was the crops grown on land stolen from the Indians. Capitalism is more than just market exchanges; it also involves the private ownership of the means of production as well as the accumulation of capital.
                      Also, the state isn’t separate from “capitalism” itself; rather, the state tends to establish capitalism (in one form or another). Often this comes in the form of imperialism; other times it is via the concentration of power away from feudal nobles and into a central government that abolishes feudal rules and enforces new laws that facilitate capitalist development.
                      In addition, mass-based democracy did not arise until the mid-19th century in America and the early 20th century for Britain, and the idea of parliamentary democracy was a fantasy for Central and Eastern Europeans until well into the 20th century. I fail to see how the problems of capitalism are actually the problems of “democracy” and “government”.

                    13. Actually, the horrors of capitalism DO have to do with exchange of goods and services. the slave trade

                      Yes, people have bought and sold bad things, just like socialist people have done bad things. Still, if you can appeal to the socialist ideal and say that no true socialists would do such things, so there’s hope, well I can guarantee you that there are free market capitalists that disagree with slavery precisely because it violates the most important property right of all: the right to self-ownership, which, by the way, is a right that I’ve conspicuously noticed is absent in the socialist ideal of “social ownership.”

                      There’s a very good case to be made that the concept of social ownership violates the concept of self-ownership, and, by definition, produces slavery, while I can simultaneously argue that the concept of slavery is in total contradiction to the concept of self-ownership, which I consider the basis for which property rights and, thus, capitalism are derived.

                      I’m not really sure how socialists determine what slavery is. Once we define social ownership, if someone’s going into a factory and working all day, and getting a bare subsistence back, because society wants the rest, how different is that from slavery? Apparently, it seems like a very possible option under socialism.

                    14. Again, still having trouble with the quotes. Not very savvy when it comes to this; most forums I’ve visited simply offer a button for making quotes…
                      I’m not really invoking the “no true scotsman” fallacy when it comes to the nature of socialist regimes, mainly because I’m arguing that socialism isn’t a one-party dictatorship with state-controlled economies. Indeed, a socialist society with multi-party elections and civil liberties may very well engage in violence, although if you look at the historical record these tend to be concentrated in the early phases. I’m not apologizing for this, just saying that this is inevitable in ANY revolution, whether socialist or liberal.
                      I don’t doubt that modern free market capitalists oppose chattel slavery, in the same way modern socialists oppose violent crackdowns and one-party dictatorships (well, most of them anyways); my argument hinges on the “modern” part.

                    15. You’re misunderstanding my point.

                      Here’s my point:

                      1. If we’re going to judge socialism by the past, to the extent that it matches the ideal socialist society, then…
                      2. We should judge capitalism by the past, to the extent that it matches the ideal capitalist society

                      Separating the socialists from the National Socialists, and the Stalins, and the Maos, and the Pol Pots is fine with me, as long as we’re consistent, and separate the capitalists from the imperialists and the slave owners, etc. Those concepts are just as inconsistent with capitalism as national socialism is to socialism.

                      If we’re going to have standards, and assign blame according to history, we should at least be consistent.

                    16. If we’re going to have standards, and assign blame according to history, we should at least be consistent.

                      I’m not disagreeing with your arguments on consistency; it’s why I’m perfectly fine with including Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot in the discussion on the merits of socialism and/or capitalism. What I can’t get around is (A) the equivocation of Nazis and Communists and (B) your conflation of capitalism (an economic system) with classical liberalism (a political system).
                      The Nazis explicitly rejected any connection with the traditional left, including Marxists and anarchists. If the Nazis were socialists, I’d include them in the discussion, but the evidence suggests that they (and their fascist ideology) are completely separate from the socialist tradition. If you want to argue that Nazis were in fact part of the socialist tradition that’s fine, but you have to argue it first; you can’t simply assume it out of hand.
                      Also, I think you are conflating capitalism (an economic system with markets, private property, and accumulation of capital) with political liberalism (the political philosophy that emphasizes individualism, natural rights, and self-ownership). Historically, capitalist societies can be both liberal (U.S., Western Europe, etc.) or illiberal (China, Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan, Pinochet’s Chile, etc); in other words, liberalism and capitalism aren’t necessarily the same.

                    17. What I can’t get around is (A) the equivocation of Nazis and Communists

                      1. I did not say that Nazis were equivalent to Communists.
                      2. I did not say that capitalism and liberalism are the same thing.

                    18. If you’re having trouble with quotes, you can look at this:
                      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Wiki_markup

                      The tags for block quote (what I’ve been using) are there, along with examples. It also supports italics, link, striker though, and perhaps others.

                    19. Also, the state isn’t separate from “capitalism” itself; rather, the state tends to establish capitalism (in one form or another)…I fail to see how the problems of capitalism are actually the problems of “democracy” and “government”.

                      Do you see the inherent contradiction in these two sentiments?

                    20. You are mistaking the horrors of capitalism with the horrors of government and crony capitalism. Governments enforced slave laws which were not based on exchange of goods and services. Everyone knew that slaves were not goods, they were people. Slavery was not capitalism, since all parties knew that force must be used on humans to keep them as goods. Everyone knew that their goods had thoughts, feelings and brains like those buying and selling those same slaves. It was capitalism only if you ignored that the ‘goods’ being traded were humans too.

                      Where you argument falls apart is that capitalism doesn’t actually need government. People can enter into voluntary contracts to buy and sell goods and services. Sure, disagreements over those contracts can occur and government can provide dispute resolution, but there are other peaceful means to resolve disputes without government (i.e. private arbitration).

                      Socialism needs government. Government controls the means of production, so government needs to be integral to the whole process.

                  2. “Unfortunately, the shift to the market economy comes with costs (TANSTAAFL): the genocide of indigenous peoples, enclosures, chattel slavery, imperialism, etc (basically all those Marxist platitudes).”
                    Er no. All of those things existed well before the market economy (though I should note that your Marxist professors have given you a very skewed history of land enclosures in western Europe if you think that caused more harm than good). In fact, it was only after the advent of the market economy that societies emerged which regarded genocide, imperialism, slavery, etc. as bad. Even Marxists credit the rise of industrial capitalism in the North as being the major factor in ending slavery by rendering pre-capitalist Southern plantation slvery obsolete. And developing countries have benefited far more from capitalism and even from the technological contributions of their colonizers than they suffered from them. In short, India would be far worse off if England had never existed. Of course, if England had been socialist instead of capitalist, India may well still be a colony, as socialist countries are invariably the last to give up their colonies (the USSR holding onto theirs well into the 80s and China still refusing to give up Tibet).

                    1. And the producers and consumers do have the same amount of choice (choice and power aren’t the same thing, don’t conflate them). The producer can choose not to produce, and the consumer can choose not to consume. Now, if the consumer is starving and the producer is the sole producer of food; but that’s a rare thing in modern developed countries. And all players have equal bargaining power in competitive markets. Most markets aren’t competitive, you say? Indeed, which is just why we should do away with all the burdensome regulations and barriers to entry that cause monopolies and oligopolies to form.

                    2. I never argued that slavery and genocide were ONLY prevalent in capitalism, only that they were required. And I never had any “Marxist” professors; most of mine were either “liberal” Democrats or Republicans. I’m a mostly self-taught Marxist. The enclosures did indeed benefit England’s burgeoning wool industry by enabling the expansion of wool production from sheep; many (if not most) peasants, however, did not benefit from this, as most were tenants who were evicted from their farms and had their rights to the natural commons (codified in the Magna Carta) revoked by the feudal lords and their vassals.

                      You’re actually invoking Marx’s theory of historical materialism, where the means of production help shape the reigning ideology of the era: “Divine right of kings” and agrarian feudalism, classical liberalism and early capitalism, etc.

                      Also, I wouldn’t necessarily argue that colonization was GOOD; one would need to explain that to the millions murdered in the Belgian Free State of Congo, or the Indians who perished from famine during the rule of the East India Company. Not to mention that Africa and Latin America’s woes are at least partially by European colonial policy; instead of establishing economic infrastructure and legal codes, the colonizers simply ran plantations and and mined raw materials, whereas there were few materials to be looted or mined in N. America, forcing settlers to prioritize on cash crops and industry (Jamestown’s tobacco, etc).

      2. Because, the evil of the system is that taxpayers are forced to fund the Democrat/Progressive Party, through the mandatory confiscation/collection of dues from the paychecks of teachers, dues which are then used to fund Democrat politicians who make collective-bargaining agreements with the same union that is being financed with taxpayer generated salaries that have the dues deducted from them.
        Capice?

        1. How is this any different from what corporations can do under Citizens United, where they can use funds from their general treasury to fund Super PACs without the voluntary consent of their investors and shareholders? Seems to me that if unions can’t have mandatory agency fees, corporations can’t have independent campaign expenditures.

          1. How is this any different from what corporations can do under Citizens United, where they can use funds from their general treasury to fund Super PACs without the voluntary consent of their investors and shareholders?

            Other than all the ways it is completely different?

          2. You mean, you’re forced to give money to big corporations?

            Christ, just listen to what you said. “Voluntary consent of investors.” Investing is a voluntary activity. Purchasing a good or service is a voluntary activity. Paying your taxes is a required activity.

            In one case, we’re talking about the right of people to spend money earned through voluntary transaction on whatever political causes they’d like to; in the other, we’re talking about an agent of the state using money forcibly taken from others to fund their favored political causes. They are as different from each other as work is from slavery.

            1. I’m not arguing for consumption; what I’m arguing is that unions using general funds (i.e money from dues) for political purposes is qualitatively no different from managers and corporate executives using general funds obtained by shareholders (i.e. investment) for political purposes. Neither the people paying the dues nor the shareholders contributes their money voluntarily for the specified cause. Tell me how using a corporation’s general funds (which are controlled by the shareholders) for political purposes is voluntary when there is no input from the shareholders?

              1. Teachers’ union argues for tax increases and increased teachers’ salaries from politician. Politician assents and increases salaries. Union increases union dues to collect its cut from the (taxpayer-funded) salary increase, then uses some of that money to lobby for the politician that gave it to them. Do you not see a conflict of interest there?

                Union’s coffers are filled with taxpayer money; and what’s more, if you don’t like a company’s political donations, you can work for or invest in a different company,even in the same industry, and if enough people feel that way, the company will go out of business. Not so with public sector unions, which have a government guaranteed monopoly on their markets, and, as I mentioned above, the very politicians they lobby for are the same ones that decide how much money they will accrue through their extortion of teachers, whether they belong to the union or not.

                And additionally, I would argue that, while private organizations are free to discriminate on the basis of opinion, the government should be held to a different standards. Just as public university should not violate students’ free speech rights, so should the government not force its employees to financially support policies they disagree with.

      3. An interesting development has happened lately where schools are hiring increasing numbers of non-educational administrators and aids because the more people in the union the more money the union gets. Thereby keeping the teachers at a reduced rate of pay (because the union can’t make them too happy … Aggrieved teachers are power chips) and increasing their own budget

  6. The upshot of today’s decision is that the mandatory union fee scheme remains firmly in place.

    How is this an “upshot”?

      1. Not clicking on that.

        1. I laughed.

          So you probably shouldn’t.

      2. Pro Tip:

        If you’re going to be smug, double check that you’re right first.

        1. I’m sure I’m going to regret asking this, but how was Warren wrong exactly?

          1. I think he was referring to Uncivil.

            1. ?

              I asked a question, because on the face of it, leaving the Agency shop model in place for the teachers’ union is a negative on a great many metrics, ranging from individual automony to governmental fiduciary. As such I was asking how this counted as an upshot.

              1. Warren was pointing out that upshot does not mean anything related to positive outcomes. It is not a synonym for upside, it means final outcome.

                1. Warren was funnier than me.

              2. Upshot means outcome. Bottom line. Stuff like that.

              3. I’m with you on this UCS. I’m a native speaker and I’d always learned it as having a distinctly positive connotation as well. Not being confused with upside, the upshot being specifically juxtaposed to whatever downside or side effect was produced by the outcome.

                That is to say, if there are good effects, neutral effects, and bad effects of the outcome the upside specifically denotes good and upshot specifically denotes ‘not bad’. “The upshot of the space launch was that the rocket crashed and hundreds of people died.” is incorrect, IMO.

                1. “The upshot of the space launch was that the rocket crashed and hundreds of people died.” is incorrect, IMO.

                  But it’s fucking hilarious, if you think about it.

                  1. *narrows gaze*

                    Hey. Someone had to do it.

                  2. But it’s fucking hilarious, if you think about it.

                    However, as an affix, “up” often carries the connotation of benefit.

                    That was my point about the rocket. Neither going upwards nor hitting any sort of target, in any way, associates with the word or words ‘upshot’/’up shot’.

                    Side effects aren’t technically bad or deleterious, but if I describe the side effects of the outcome and then describe the upshot, the general presumption is that the side effects are bad and the upshot is good despite the technical lack of any connotation. Similarly/equally, I’ve never heard anyone say something like ‘The side effect of the upshot.’ despite the technical validity of the statement.

              4. Putting on my linguist cap, I wonder if this isn’t evidence of semantic drift. The word “upshot” is a synonym of “outcome” that is not semantically marked either way as beneficial or disadvantageous. However, as an affix, “up” often carries the connotation of benefit. We might be seeing a similar phenomenon as what happened to the word “upswing”. Again, “upswing” merely means an increase, but it is often used in a positive sense, “We’ve seen an upswing in sales”; one could say “There’s been an upswing in crime rates,” but Merriam-Webster, at least, acknowledges the positive markedness in their second definition a marked increase or improvement.

                Fascinating.

                1. The word “upshot” is a synonym of “outcome” that is not semantically marked either way as beneficial or disadvantageous.

                  That is how I have always understood it.

                  1. So it’s a semantic debate depending upon which variation of English one speaks.

                    Got it.

                2. Putting on my linguist cap, I wonder if this isn’t evidence of semantic drift.

                  Sure looks that way. Who knew?

                  1. Go buy a thesaurus, question answered -and- it generates economic activity!

  7. Who ruled which way?

    1. Are you asking about the definition of ‘upshot’ or the court case?

  8. They don’t even flip a fucking coin? What a crock of shit. Seriously, though, why not defer decisions when circumstances like this come up?

    1. Don’t ties go to Joe Biden?

    2. This IS deferring. This particular circuit court has a ruling. Another circuit court can come up with a different ruling. Both would stand until an uneven number of SCOTUS justices are available to decide.

  9. On the bright side, this should hasten the inevitable collapse*.

    *I need to put this in a keyboard macro

    1. ^ This.

  10. The unions put a hit out on Scalia.

    This is so disappointing, I was hoping for a win.

    1. The unions put a hit out on Scalia.

      I am pretty sure it was the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

      1. I thought Scalia and Irish were brothers in the klan.

        1. Like I’d let Italians into my klavern. Geez, I have standards.

          (Also, while looking up what the KKK calls a local Klan group, I learned that they refer to couriers as ‘Nighthawks,’ thus proving that the modern KKK is the equivalent of Dungeons and Dragons for racists).

          1. So no dwarf or elf characters in their parties?

          2. Every D&D/analogous tabletop gaming event I’ve been involved in was about as ethnically diverse (in reality) as I would expect a Klan meeting to be.

            1. And you get to beat up on some Drow.

              (and note this link about Drow cosplay)

  11. But that was before the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. With Scalia gone, the balance in this case likely shifted from 5-4 in Friedrich’s favor to an even 4-4 split.

    Or, to put it another way, everyone’s mind was made up according to personal bias before the evidence was heard?

    1. Or, one could say that each Justice’s legal views are so well known that one can generally know before hand how each one will rule. It’s not really a secret how these people decide things, after all. This is especially true if they’re actually a constitutionalist, which most of them aren’t. Hence the ruling.

      This in no way refutes, or is intended to refute, that you’re right. They make up their minds beforehand and rationalize it afterwards.

    2. The law is like climate science. You take the facts that match your theory, and make them fit.

  12. Ow! My balls!

  13. Well shit. You let us down again, Scalia!

    1. I’m pretty sure it’s the other way around this one last time.

  14. the law of California is that public sector unions can compel speech.

    okay, got it.

    FUCK CALIFORNIA

  15. Aww, that’s too bad. This is a blow to right-wing rent-seeking scabs everywhere.

    1. Oh yes, if it weren’t for public employee unions in California, god knows–the teachers would have to work 12 hour shifts in a dangerous coal mine without any breaks.

      Actually, did you know that the California Constitution requires that 40% of the state’s budget goes to K-12 education? And that doesn’t have anything to do with collective bargaining.

      If there’s ever been a group of unionized workers who needed a union less than California’s teachers, I’m sure I don’t know who it is.

      1. I guess unions are pretty good at getting good wages for the people that belong to them. I like my job and the company of my coworkers, but to be honest I’ll take my employer for the highest amount she’ll pay me and maintain a consciously adversarial relationship with her. I know, I know… My lack of deference to Randian jobs creators is troubling. It’s a character flaw I’m working on.

        1. It’s a character flaw I’m working on.

          I’d work on your penchant for slaying strawmen first.

          1. “and maintain a consciously adversarial relationship with her”
            Carefull, that’s how people end up in the camps.

        2. The way economies grow and living standards improve? is not by overpaying people more and more to do less and less work. And it certainly isn’t by encumbering productive taxpayers with an ever increasing bill for less and less.

          The way economies grow and living standards improve is by productive workers becoming more and more productive with less and less cost. Public employee unions work against that.

        3. I guess unions are pretty good at getting good wages for the people that belong to them.

          Now, if only they were good at teaching children.

          1. They’re pretty good at teaching white middle and upper-class kids. Most of the so-called “quality issues” in American education seem to revolve around poor brown kids, and I think poverty is a better indicator of educational potential then whether or not the teachers are unionized.

            1. Psssst…..dead thread-fucking makes you a douche like Tony. Believe me, you don’t want to be a douche like Tony.

              1. I’ve seen Tony; definitely don’t want to end up like Tony.

            2. “Poverty is a better indicator of educational potential”

              In other words, racism is a better indicator of educational potential.

              Ok.

            3. If teachers are so useless though, why do we pay them so much? Seriously, if this is true, ans teacher quality plays a negligible role, why don’t we pay them minimum wage like we pay to the fry cooks at Taco Bell, because their quality plays little role in the quality of the food they produce?

        4. And fuck all those poor people who can do your job better for lower pay. They can starve. It’s capitalists’ fault anyway for not sending them to work camps. Socialism FTW!

        5. And if unions are so great, why can’t we let them be, like, voluntary? Or are they like one of those things that’s so great you have to force people to participate in like the draft and cotton harvesting?

      1. Certainly seems to hate taxpayers.

        Whatever extra pay and benefits California teachers get for being in a union, that money doesn’t just fall out of the sky. They’re taking it from working taxpayers–few of whom make a teacher’s salary and none of whom get those benefits. They’re stealing from the working poor to give to the rich.

        According to this site, the average elementary school teacher in California makes $69,320 per year.

        http://www.teachingdegree.org/california/salary/

        That salary figure does not include retirement benefits.

        1. Teacher in pretty much every state make more than the state salary average, and they start at very nice salaries too, and with better benefits than average, and that for a 9 month work year. Yet for some reason the public is constantly exhorting the state to increase their pay because they make “slave wages”.

        2. According to that site, average teacher salaries are about 23% higher than the national average salary. However, median household income in California is approximately $67,458, compared to $50,502 (a 33% difference). So, technically speaking, average teacher salaries are roughly at the state median (bad statistical comparison, but I couldn’t find median teacher salaries).

          In other words, I find it highly dubious that unionized teachers in California are stealing from the “working poor”, given that nearly half of the state makes more money and California’s fiscal reliance on graduated income and property taxes.

        3. Yes, and the taxpayers are the one group not represented at the bargaining table. (No, I don’t buy the notion that the politicians in any way represent the taxpayers.)

      2. He doesn’t. He just hates children.

    2. How the fuck is it rent-seeking for me to take less money than you?

      Jesus Christ, at least understand Economics 101.

      1. understand Economics 101

        socialist

        Does not compute.

        1. Well, my Econ 101 class was tought by a Keynesian – she said in all earnestness “Governments don’t have to worry about deficits”. That made me skeptical of her expertise.

          1. Well, strictly speaking, governments really don’t have to worry about deficits. All the citizens that live under that government, including workers for it, and people who depend on pensions from it might want to worry more about it, though!

            1. In the context of that quote, that’s not the way she meant it.

              1. If she were really a Kenyesian, she would have said “government doesn’t have to worry about deficits during recessions – it’ll easily be able to pay them off during the good times, because the interest rates are so low during recessions.” This is why lefty Keynesians (there are right of center ones, like Greg Mankiw, who’s alright) are often trying to argue that we’re always in a recession. Just take Krugman for example. He praises Obama’s recovery one moment, then the next moment he’s reminding us that there never was a recovery, and even though interest rates are well above 0, we still need more stimulus.

            2. Deficits are never paid down, we just make the interest payments. It’s like living on credit cards and only paying the minimum. Eventually our grandchildren’s taxes will be far higher than ours just to pay the vig.

          2. If governments don’t have to worry about deficits, they don’t have to worry about debt either, which means they don’t worry about paying it back. Who in their right mind would willingly loan money to someone who has no incentive to pay it back?

    3. Fuck you and the horse you rode on. I work fucking hard and having money pulled from my paycheck only to go to Democrat operatives is especially frustrating when living paycheck to paycheck.

      Fuck the union, fuck the SC, and fuck you.

    4. Not surprising that a scumbag like you would gloat over the mob robbing workers.

      -jcr

    5. Why do government workers need a union? Is not government is the source of all fairness and all that is righteous and good? Surely our glorious commissars would not exploit the workers!

  16. 4-4 splits have no precedential value. This applies only to the 9th Circuit, and can’t/shouldn’t be cited anywhere else to overturn laws in other circuits.

    Sucks, but not that hard.

    1. That answers my question.

    2. Thanks.

      Facts. Are you sure they’re allowed on the Intertubes?

  17. “just as the government cannot compel political speech or association generally, it cannot mandate political speech or association as a condition of employment.”

    Seems so reasonable.

    “In this case, that means the California Teachers Association’s victory before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit remains standing.

    If I understand this properly, that means this decision only affects the 9th Circuit–not the rest of the country. Do I have that right?

    1. No, since the Supreme Court ruled on it, it’s nationwide….

  18. Libertarian moment.

  19. So, in other words, this has the ‘upshot’ of making every decision that comes to the Supreme Court a tie on contentious issues until after the next Presidential election in November.

    We should probably brace ourselves for more of this insanity, but at least these rulings won’t hold the rest of the country accountable in the short term. That’s a really small benefit, but at least there is one.

  20. Naturally, the liberal “justices” are loyal to the unions, not the Constitution or freedom.

  21. Dear Reason.com:

    I have a public relation’s problem and I’m looking to you for help. I live in a gated community and have to pay a monthly homeowner’s fee for the property. One of the things they do here is provide lawn maintenance for my front yard. The way they cut my lawn is ok, but I hate the way the Mexican guy looks at me while he is doing it.

    A couple of questions:

    1. How can I get out of paying my homeowners’ fee and how can I spin it as some kind of battle against progressive SJWs who are looking to indoctrinate our children?

    2. Do you think that my situation would allow me to get one of those high-paying gigs on FoxNews or a think tank funded by billionaires. I really want one of those. Should I play up the whole thing about the way my Hispanic lawn care maintenance professional makes me feel uncomfortable? That might play out pretty good amongst some.

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    1. How can I get out of paying my homeowners’ fee and how can I spin it as some kind of battle against progressive SJWs who are looking to indoctrinate our children?

      I’d recommend you stick with your current deadbeat strategy of spinning it as a battle against the evil banksters who held a gun to your head and shoved a loan contract written in Old English in front of your face. Hope this helps.

    2. Does this pass for wit in your short-bus social milieu?

      -jcr

    3. “I live in a gated community”

      Of fucking course you do! Why don’t you have a gate to keep all the diversity away you right wing shitbag? Actually, as a socialist, why don’t you sell your home and spread the money around like 1000 homeless people so you can all live in nice cardboard boxes with eachother, you know for equality! progress!

      Seriously though, I love how the biggest lefties who spend the most time bitching about how unfair life is are always way richer than I am, funny how that works.

      1. He doesn’t own a home. He walked away from his mortgage, and wants the rest of us responsible people who live within our means (and I make below median income, btw) to bail him out. It’s not hard to see why he’s a socialist.

    4. 1) Does your gated community use your fee to finance Donald Trump’s presidential campaign?

      2) Is your homeowners association government owned and operated (and therefore financed by taxpayers)?

      No, and no? I see. Analogy failure.

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  23. Damnit, SCALIA!!!

    1. Time to print up some “Miss me Yet?” bumper stickers.

  24. Once again, the members of the Democrat Party come down in favor of Involuntary Servitude.
    Nothing seems to have changed in the last 150-years.

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