Kavanaugh’s Labor Record: Unanimously Awful

KavanaughAfter President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, I wrote a post describing his anti-worker dissent in the SeaWorld case. In response, a commenter called me “a far left activist [who] has always opposed any politician, judge, or person who has an alternative view.”

Well I would heartily disagree with that characterization, but however people want to characterize me,  I’m happy to point out that there are many other smart, well educated people out there who agree that Kavanaugh will be a disaster for working people.

Below are a series of additional articles written by labor and business experts across the country about the damage that Kavanaugh is expected to wreak on workers and labor.

The Kavanaugh Nomination and Labor, by Sharon Block, OnLabor

Comment: Block, Executive Director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, does a detailed analysis of several labor-related cases that Kavanaugh has ruled on in order to “make the case that his record reflects a sustained and, at times, aggressive hostility to the role of the law in protecting the vulnerable and less powerful.”  Noting that the AFL-CIO opposes Kavanaugh’s appointment, Block writes that “Opposition to the nomination by the labor movement is no surprise.  Kavanaugh’s record demonstrates consistent support for the interests of employers and a lack of concern for the interests of workers and the government agencies that come to the D.C. Circuit to protect workers’ rights.”

The judicial jihad against the regulatory state, by Steven Pearlstein, the Washington Post

Comment: Long-time Washington Post business columnist Steve Pearlstein describes Kavanaugh’s current court, the DC Circuit, “where a new breed of activist judges are waging a determined and largely successful war on federal regulatory agencies.”  Discussing a recent case where Kavanaugh wrote an opinion throwing out the EPA air pollution requirements, Pearlstein writes: “What you get is 60 pages of legal sophistry, procedural hair-splitting and scientific conjecture.  You find a judge without a shred of technical training formulating his own policy solution to an incredibly complex problem and substituting it for the solution proposed by experienced experts. You find an appeals court judge so dismissive of the most fundamental rules of judicial restraint that he dares to throw out regulations on the basis of concerns never raised during the rule-making process or in the initial court appeal.” Ouch!

Brett Kavenaugh Ruled Against Workers When No One Else Did, by Dave Jamieson, Huffington Post

Comment: In addition to my post on the Sea World case, Jamieson discusses the Agri Processors case where the meatpacker refused to bargain with the newly elected union, arguing that most of them weren’t covered by collective bargaining law because they were undocumented immigrants. “Ultimately, neither the National Labor Relations Board nor the majority of judges on a panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed with Agri Processor. The only one who did was Brett Kavanaugh.”

Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Could Spell a Fresh Hell for Workers’ Rights, by Moshe Marvit, In These Times

Comment: Marvit goes through a number of labor related cases where he consistently ruled against workers and labor unions. He concludes that “Labor advocates should be extremely concerned about this ideological bent if Kavanaugh becomes a justice on an already very business friendly—and conservative—Supreme Court.”

Trump asks business groups for help pushing Kavanaugh confirmation, by Lorraine Woellert, Politico

Comment: The White House is asking business groups to help with Kavanaugh’s confirmation because ““Judge Kavanaugh protects American businesses from illegal job-killing regulation.” Enough said.

Watch Out Workers, Here Comes Brett Kavanaugh, by Andrew Strom, OnLabor

Comment: Strom is Associate General Counsel of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and being an actual attorney is able to describe the legal issues of the Sea World case much better than I could.  Strom thinks that ” If the Senate confirms Kavanaugh’s nomination, we can expect repeated instances where he will similarly insist that the agencies that Congress created to protect workers and the general public somehow overstepped their authority.”

Trump’s Supreme Court nominee hostile to OSHA, by Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH, The Pump Handle

Comment: Monforton discusses the Sea World case, relying heavily on my post in describing the Sea World case for her readers.

Family Man Brett Kavanaugh Thinks Businesses Shouldn’t Be Liable If Employee Are Eaten on the Job, by Bess Levin, Vanity Fair.

Comment: Vanity Fairs wins the prize for the best headline. Dawn Brancheau was not actually eaten by the whale; just dismembered and drowned. But even if she had been consumed, I doubt that would change Kavenaugh’s opinion about the legality of OSHA’s citation against Sea World.

Note: If you had followed @jbarab on Twitter, you would already have known about all of these articles.

Brett Kavanaugh OSHA Supreme Court

4 Comments

  1. How can the AFL-CIO and the SEIU even discuss Kavanaugh’s records on safety and the health protection of their workers when they have eliminated their safety personnel and programs. Kavanaugh makes a few statements a few years ago that were case specific and no one considers the rest of his records or other accolades and support from his peers. We hear a lot of people trying to jump on the bandwagon repeating the same talking points, quoting the same SeaWorld case, what about all of the others that he ruled in. Review all of them and look at the total of his career and not 2 out of 1000. If a SeaWorld worker didn’t know they could be eaten by a “killer whale” with teeth in full view, numerous YouTube throwing seal clips and killing sharks, you really have to question, the statements, I didn’t know they could hurt me. Myself, if my employer told me that I will pay you millions to stand out on the football field and take hits till my brain is short circuited, oh wait the NFL Players Union says that’s ok, we are working on concussion protocols and new helmets. The two unions above show what they care about and it is not safety and health of their members.

    In your words:
    Wednesday, May 11, 2005
    An Open Letter To AFL-CIO President John Sweeney On The Elimination of The AFL-CIO Safety and Health Department

    Look at his entire record, who did you think Trump was going to pick William O Douglas’s twin?

  2. If you read the articles I cited in this post, you’ll see that there are many cases where Kavanaugh has been hostile to workers. And just because Trump was inevitably going to choose someone really bad doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be opposed and doesn’t mean there aren’t good reasons to oppose him. (although I was secretly hoping he’d rise above politics and appoint Merrick Garland.)

    Regarding SEIU, my argument is that they have misplaced priorities, not that they don’t care about workplace safety or workers’ rights.

  3. Just wondering Jordan, when are you going to post the New York times op-ed, by Yale Law School professor Akil Reed
    Amar? I would think that a Clinton, Obama and Judge Merrick Garland supporter such as Akil Reed Amar would be worthy of posting, but then again his opinion is inimical to your cause, since he describes Kavanaugh as a “superb nominee”.

  4. Jordan I wouldn’t be surprised if your negative commenter was a Russian bot that is designed to attack anyone who has a non right wing opinion. Don’t take the criticism to heart as it is in all likelihood a computer program you are arguing with.

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