|Justice Samuel Alito|
Knox illustrates both how the current majority goes out of its way to favor big business, a theme of our most recent First Monday documentary, Unequal Justice, and also the extreme judicial activism of the court’s extreme right – another issue we’ve followed closely.
In his opinion, Justice Alito denied going beyond the confines of the question the parties brought to the court, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor shredded his defensive assertion in a separate opinion. Joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Sotomayor said the case, as presented, provided no occasion for the majority’s attack on the opt-out rule, let alone its expressions of skepticism about the constitutionality of the agency shop. … Justice Sotomayor said: “To cast serious doubt on longstanding precedent is a step we historically take only with the greatest caution and reticence. To do so, as the majority does, on our own invitation and without adversarial presentation is both unfair and unwise.”
Justice Breyer, joined in his dissenting opinion by Justice Kagan, noted that “the debate about public unions’ collective-bargaining rights is currently intense.” He added, “There is no good reason for the court suddenly to enter the debate, much less now to decide that the Constitution resolves it.”