While the newspapers and political blogs are there are all about the Hobby Lobby decision that upholds the religious views of closely-held corporations in the face of the Obamacare contraception mandate (and in all honesty, doesn't deprive any woman of contraception), there is another decision that the Supreme Court rendered today that has just as much - if not more significance.
In Harris v. Quinn, "Big Labor" took a significant hit, as the Supreme Court held that public sector unions cannot compel membership of personal care providers who work from their homes or the homes of others.
The case, brought by the National Right to Work Foundation, was a class-action lawsuit by Pam Harris and seven other Illinois care providers after Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed an executive order rendering them vulnerable to unwanted union organizing. Quinn's executive order designated over 20,000 personal care providers as "public employees" solely for the purpose of forcing them into union ranks - a move that mirrored that of disgraced former Governor Rod Blagojevich. Quinn then expanded the directive to cover 4,500 additional providers.
Translation: SEIU and other unions like it got to collect millions of dollars in union dues annually - and used that money in ways that these care providers did not necessarily agree with, thus infriging their rights to free speech.
Writing for the 5-to-4 majority, Justice Alito held that there was a category of government employees called partial public employees, such as home-care aides who typically work for an ill or disabled person, with Medicaid paying their wages, who can opt out of joining a union and not be required to contribute union fees and should not be treated the same way as full time public employees like public schoolteachers or police officers who work directly for the government.
What does this mean for "big labor"? It could mean a full-on challenge to mandatory union membership in the near future - at least that is what Justice Kagan sees in the dissent - check out the decision for yourself.
Tune in WED@9PM for more discussion of these significatn SCOTUS decisions!