Tag: SUPREME COURT

How Trump Betrays ‘Forgotten’ Americans

Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 7.45.29 AMFrom the Supreme Court to labor organizing rules, the president undermines workers’ greatest champions.

Donald Trump promotes himself as a friend of “forgotten” workers, but in ways large and small his administration has undermined what has traditionally been the biggest champion of workers: labor unions.

Most recently, he used his authority as president to deliver a harsh Labor Day message to the 2.1 million people who work for him, canceling pay raises for the civilian employees of the federal government. In May, he issued three executive orders to weaken federal employees’ unions by, among other things, limiting the subjects they can bargain over. (On Aug. 25, a judge ruled that this move violated federal law.) In March 2017, Mr. Trump signed a law repealing an executive order signed by President Obama that sought to keep the federal government from awarding contracts to companies that violate laws protecting workers’ right to unionize, as well as wage and job safety laws.

Since taking office, Mr. Trump has installed a conservative majority on the National Labor Relations Board that has moved quickly to make it harder for unions to organize. Last December, the board overturned a rule, beloved by unions, that made it easier to organize smaller units of workers in big factories and stores. In another board decision, his appointees made it tougher for workers at fast-food restaurants and other franchised operations to unionize, although that “joint employer” ruling was vacated when a labor board member later recused himself because of a conflict of interest. The board is also looking to slow down unionization elections, a move that unions oppose because it would give corporations more time to pressure workers to vote against unionizing.

Mr. Trump’s first nominee to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, was the deciding vote in a case that delivered this year’s biggest blow to workers. In Janus v. AFSCME, the court’s conservative majority, in a 5-to-4 vote, ruled in June that government employees can’t be required to pay any fees to the unions that bargain for them. By allowing many government workers to become “free riders,” that ruling is expected to chop revenues to many public employee unions by one-tenth to one-third.

READ MORE: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/03/opinion/trump-labor-unions-greenhouse.html

FISA Passes: Warrantless Wiretapping Will Live on

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In a move sure to upset privacy advocates across the country, and perhaps spark action from the Supreme Court, the Senate on Friday morning passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by a vote of 73-23 and will send it to President Obama’s desk for signature. FISA allows the government to tap any conversation involving U.S. citizens without previously obtaining a warrant, as long as officials suspect those talks involve at least one person located outside of the United States. The bill passed the House in September, led to contentious arguments on the Senate floor this week, and extends a modern debate that became especially heated in the Bush era as the National Security Agency extended its powers without court regulation. Wired’s David Kravets explains the details of the latest legislation:

The FISA Amendments Act generally requires the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court, a secret tribunal set up in the wake of President Richard M. Nixon-era eavesdropping, to rubber-stamp terror-related electronic surveillance requests. The government does not have to identify the target or facility to be monitored. It can begin surveillance a week before making the request, and the surveillance can continue during the appeals process if, in a rare case, the secret FISA court rejects the surveillance application.

Secret tribunals? Spying? Why would this matter if the only international calls are (speaking from personal experience) the ones you’re making to your Filipino grandma talking about her day?Salon’s Alex Pareene details the big-picture of why FISA is so tricky:

The FISA Amendments Act makes a joke of the entire Fourth Amendment “warrant” requirement, as the government now can seek “programmatic warrants” that allow them to indiscriminately collect massive amounts of data from broadly defined “targets” over the course of a year.

There is a tiny sliver hope if you aren’t a fan of FISA and really like the Fourth Amendment. AsThe Verge’s Adi Robertson reports, there have have been efforts to get the Supreme Court involved.

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