The Supreme Court Curbs Federal Regulatory Power

NLF Highlights for June

They are in the news again, the U.S. Supreme Court and the Environmental Protection Agency, with the former once again issuing a ruling challenging the authority of the latter, in this instance the EPA’s authority to regulate the pollution of wetlands, in Sacket vs. EPA, a case involving a piece of private property in Idaho. In a separate concurring opinion in this case, Justice Kagan challenged “the court’s appointment of itself as the national decision maker on environmental policy.”
In the May issue of New Labor ForumJenny Breen describes in clear and alarming detail the trend of the Supreme Court to rely on a newly formulated precept called the “major questions doctrine.” This doctrine plays a deregulatory role in that it opposes the authority of government agencies to regulate significant matters without explicit congressional approval. In this manner, Breen argues, the new doctrine empowers “a majority of current members on the Court, who seem to perceive danger lurking behind every government scientist taking an air quality sample and every complaint issued by the NLRB.”
Breen points out the urgent need for the involvement of unions in the case of legal doctrines that favor private interests and undermine the government’s ability to stand with working people. New Labor Forum frequently calls attention to the labor’s role in protecting democracy, most recently in our winter issue, in Joseph McCartin’s article “U.S. Labor and the Struggle for Democracy.” The erosion of democracy appears, frighteningly, to have picked up momentum globally, and our current issue dissects this trend in an analysis by Luciano Kovacs titled “Europe’s New Authoritarianism.” Subscribe now to gain access to all the journal has to offer.
Table of Contents
    1. Open for Business: The Supreme Court Curbs Federal Regulatory Power – Jenny Breen, New Labor Forum
    2. Reinventing Solidarity Episode 43 – “The Strike: Labor’s Most Powerful Weapon

Open for Business: The Supreme Court Curbs Federal Regulatory Power
by Jenny Breen, New Labor Forum
The current U.S. Supreme Court has been making a habit of pushing itself into the center of American politics, issuing high-profile decisions on controversial topics such as guns and abortion, with decisions on affirmative action and religious objections to antidiscrimination law expected soon. A theme running throughout these opinions has been the Court’s focus on redefining individual rights: removing them from pregnant women, granting them to people who want to carry guns. But alongside these truly radical redefinitions of constitutional rights, the Court has also been busily redefining the nuts and bolts of how government actually functions at its most basic level, with potentially monumental consequences.
Read the full article here

CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies faculty member Stephanie Luce speaks with trade unionists Judy Gonzalez and Bob Master about the conditions which make the strike labor’s most powerful weapon. Drawing on recent experience with the New York State Nurses Union strike at Montefiore and Mt. Sinai hospitals, Gonzalez details the preparatory work of the union that contributed to victory. And Master describes the manner in which his union, the Communications Workers of America, has over the years successfully drawn on the CWA’s long history of militancy.

Listen here: SLU.CUNY.EDU/PODCAST

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