Hobby Lobby: the Rest of the First Amendment
In Hobby Lobby SCOTUS held that the first clause of the First Amendment, the Establishment Clause, prohibits the government from forcing behavior antithetical to one’s religious beliefs: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion…” The use of force by the federal government essentially to abridge one’s religious beliefs cannot be done.
The second clause in the First Amendment prohibits the government from abridging the speech of all Americans: “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech.”
SCOTUS long has held that campaign donations are speech, that the only way the average citizen can “speak” in the public square is to contribute their money to the politician, party or cause supported by that citizen.
What is one of the ways free speech can be abridged, and the First Amendment violated?
Just as Hobby Lobby prohibits the use of government force to violate my First Amendment religious protections, Hobby Lobby must also prohibit the use of government force to violate my First Amendment free speech protections.
So let’s talk about government-sector unions.
By using taxation – government force – to pay the dues of a person in a government-sector union, and that union being allowed to contribute that dues directly (dollar donations) or indirectly (paying the salaries and benefits of Get Out The Vote campaign workers – GOTV) to political parties I do not support, Government force is being used to compel me to violate my First Amendment right to Free Speech; it is abridging my speech by diluting or erasing that speech through force of government. It is putting an enormous thumb on the scale of political donations, pushing down one side via the forced taxation of all Americans, even those not supporting that side.
Any contribution I make – or any decision I make to not contribute – to any party or candidate is diluted or erased by the donation of my money, sourced through forced taxation, to a politician or party I do not support.
Under Hobby Lobby government sector unions are constitutional.
Would harm be done to citizens by prohibiting these unions? No. FDR dismissed the idea of them. We have not had them during the majority of America’s existence.
When Governor Walker essentially made them optional in WI, an overwhelming majority of members of these government sector unions immediately quit paying dues: They didn’t find these unions useful to themselves.
If their own members don’t find them useful, under what possible guise can non-members be forced to support them? Are we somehow better-able to decide if these workers need the support of these unions than are those worker themselves? That’s absurd on its face.
Government workers already have Civil Service protection from being summarily dismissed, and laws to protect health & safety. These unions are nothing but government-mandated slush funds for the Democrat Party, paid for by every taxpayer, regardless of party affiliation, or no affiliation at all.
These slush funds were not legal until JFK recognized the ability to use taxpayer dollars to support the Democrat Party, regardless of the affiliation of the taxpayer, essentially forcing any taxpayer not supporting Democrats to contribute to the Democrats by default. Any donation to the GOP (or any other political party) is diluted by that taxpayer also being forced by the government to contribute to the Democrats. This is a clear violation of Free Speech.
Government Sector unions violate the First Amendment. They allow the government to compel me to dilute my own speech. They are an unconstitutional abridgement of my Free Speech.