Title

Why the Supreme Court Matters for Workers

Document Type

Article

Journal Title

The Conversation

Publication Date

10-31-2016

Abstract

Donald Trump touts that as president he would be good for American workers.

Although many of his plans are vague or possibly harmful, there is one clear outcome of a Trump presidency: with the power to appoint Supreme Court justices, Trump promises to continue a conservative majority.

We usually think of the Supreme Court in terms of what it means for abortion rights, marriage equality and the Second Amendment. At the third presidential debate, that’s what we heard.

Trump vowed to appoint justices in the mold of the late Antonin Scalia who would be hostile to Roe v. Wade and bolster gun rights. Hillary Clinton said her nominees would support women’s rights, marriage equality and reverse Citizens United.

The candidates did not, however, address the Supreme Court’s substantial impact on the workplace – an impact that’s often ignored amid these hot-button issues.

Almost five decades of a conservative Court majority have sharply limited the rights of workers to unionize, form class actions and fight discrimination. The results have been profound and help explain the deterioration of the working class and the rise of economic inequality in recent decades.