With the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings underway, the unions are very jumpy.
Did you know that the U.S. Supreme Court is there to protect the little guy and minorities, uphold women’s rights, and destroy school choice? That’s according to the make-it-up-as-you-go-along left, including the teachers unions. In reality, the job of a SCOTUS Justice is simply to defend the U.S. Constitution. Perhaps Walter Williams put it best when he recently wrote, “The U.S. Constitution represents “our rules of the game” and “Supreme Court justices should be seen as umpires or referees, whose job is to enforce neutral rules.”
But the teachers unions see the Court as a vehicle to ram their education, political and social agendas down our throats, just as they have done in so many state legislatures across the country. The unions’ pearl-clutching became quite intense when Kavanaugh’s record on education was revealed. The son of a public school-teaching mom, he’d served as co-chairman of the Federalist Society’s “School Choice Practice Group.” National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen García claims Kavanaugh will be a “rubber stamp” for the agenda of President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The union leader is particularly irked that Kavanaugh once said that “a future Supreme Court will uphold vouchers,” which she claims “take resources away from the public schools that 90 percent of students attend.” She is correct about his statement; in 2000, he did predict that school vouchers would one day be upheld by the Supreme Court.
Not sure why this is something that is supposed to make us gasp. He simply believed something that did, in fact, come true. In Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, the Court declared in 2003 that the school voucher program in Cleveland was not in violation of the Establishment Clause.
Also, Kavanaugh wrote an amicus brief in 1999 in favor of a Texas high school’s policy allowing for student-led and student-initiated prayers at school football games. The unions, citing the non-existent “separation of church and state” clause in the Constitution, were not happy.
To get their message across, the teachers unions have been mobilizing. Randi Weingarten’s American Federation of Teachers’ members have made 20,000 phone calls to Senators imploring them to vote against Kavanaugh, and the NEA faithful have already sent 60,000 messages to Congress to protest his appointment.
And it’s not just the teachers unions that are jittery. In the far left Mother Jones, Tonya Riley writes, “Brett Kavanaugh’s History as a Judge Has Organized Labor Very Worried.” She details many of the alleged horrors perpetrated by Kavanaugh when he was on a DC-based Appeals Court. Riley sites many cases in which he has exhibited “anti-union and anti-labor sentiment,” including a 2015 decision in which Kavanagh sided with the management of a Las Vegas casino, upholding its “First Amendment right to summon police to issue citations to union protesters trespassing on company property.” (Yes, trespassing is a crime, even if it’s done in a union’s name.) The other cases she cites are no more persuasive that Kavanaugh is “anti-labor.”
“Everything we know about Justice Kavanaugh’s record leads us to believe he would operate under a pro-corporation agenda over workers’ rights, over civil rights, and more,” said Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
Interestingly, it was that very union that Mark Janus sued. The case went to the Supreme Court, where, much to Mr. Saunders’ consternation, the plaintiff’s “civil right” not to pay money to a union he wanted no part of was upheld this past June.
Ultimately, as The Federalist’s David Harsanyi writes, “Democrats Don’t Fear Brett Kavanaugh. They Fear the Constitution.” The unions and others on the left believe that the Constitution is a “living, breathing” document. This means they can contort it to fit their political and social agendas. Brett Kavanaugh knows what the Constitution is about and, if his appointment is successful, will wisely rule the way the founders intended.
The Court session this year begins on October 1st. The Senate vote will be close, probably breaking down by party line. With Republicans holding a 51-49 majority, they would seem to have the edge. But defectors – on both sides – are always a possibility.
In the meantime, the unionista chants of Kava-nah! and Kava-no! need to be answered with Kavan-awesome!
Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.