With the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, labor rights issues stand in limbo, as President Trump plans to nominate a hard line conservative, who has ruled in favor of corporate interests in previous cases.
Labor lawyer Joyce Goldstein joined the AWF Union Podcast to discuss the legacy of Ginsburg and what is at stake if President Trump gets to appoint another justice.
Remembering Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Goldstein called Ginsburg an icon and an inspiration for many women, especially those taking up a career in law. She cited her dissents as career defining. Ginsburg would write her dissents in a way to inform future justices, lawyers and scholars about where she thinks law should go.
Ginsburg and Barrett on labor
Based on past rulings, Goldstein said President Trump’s nominee Amy Coney Barrett will not be a friend of labor.
In a case involving Grubhub and employment related arbitration, Coney Barrett ruled in favor of big business when deciding employees must go through arbitration alone as opposed to collective action.
This is compared to the Epic Systems case where Ginsburg wrote the dissenting opinion. In her dissent, Ginsburg suggested employees and employers do not have equal bargaining power.
Ultimately, the majority ruled employers can require arbitration as a term of employment and that employees must bring any disputes alone and without collective action.
Drawing parallels of past justices
Typically, conservative thinkers accuse liberal thinkers of using identity politics. However, Goldstein said conservatives have played identity politics with the court in the past and they are playing identity politics now.
She drew parallels from the successful appointment of Justice Clarence Thomas after the passing of Civil Rights era icon Justice Thurgood Marshall. The only common trait they had was the color of their skin.
Goldstein said the same thing is happening now. Republicans have made it an issue to nominate and confirm a woman to the high court. She said gender is the only common trait between Ginsburg and Coney Barrett.