(American Prospect) -- Mitch McConnell is a big winner today. His refusal to let the Senate consider Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court seat opened by Antonin Scalia’s death led to Neil Gorsuch’s accession to Scalia’s seat, which in turn led to the spate of reactionary decisions the Court has since delivered. But no decision has mattered more to McConnell than today’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, for this decision has a direct and immediate effect on the partisan balance of power.
By stripping public sector unions of the right to collect the fees from non-members they are obligated to represent in bargaining and grievance procedures, the five Republicans on the high court has effectively compelled the unions that constitute some of the largest and most effective election-time campaigners for progressive causes and candidates to lose the resources that enable them to do what they do.
And what is it that the major public employee unions actually do during election season? Besides rallying their own members to support candidates who support adequate public services, more broadly shared prosperity, and human and civil rights, they also provide the foot-soldiers who focus on helping minority voters get to the polls. They are, that is, a major arm of the Democrats’ mobilization operation. Now that arm has been measurably shortened. That’s why Mitch McConnell is having a good day.
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