Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Snyder asks court if Mich. No Rights At Work is constitutional

Say it, Brother Hoogerhyde
File this under: Shouldn't you have thought of that sooner?

Gov. Rick Snyder is now asking the state Supreme Court if the No Rights At Work law can apply to government workers under the Michigan constitution. The Detroit News reports,
Gov. Rick Snyder on Monday asked the Michigan Supreme Court to consider the constitutionality of the new public sector right-to-work law and whether it applies to Michigan's 35,000 unionized state workers. 
In a letter to Chief Justice Robert Young Jr., Snyder asked the high court to decide whether Public 349 of 2012 interferes with the Michigan Civil Service Commission's ability to negotiate union contracts. 
Snyder also asked Young to have the court consider whether the law violates the 14th Amendment equal protection clause of the United State constitution "because the legislation does not apply to all employees in public or private sector bargaining units." 
The public right-to-work law exempts the Michigan State Police and unionized police and firefighters because they are governed by Public Act 312, which gives them special binding arbitration rights.
That's what happens when you ram a bill through a lame-duck session of the Legislature with no committees and no hearings. (So is this.)

Snyder is anticipating legal challenges from unions. His move is seen as a way to bypass those challenges and get a favorable ruling from the high court. The Detroit Free Press reports,
"I think he's reading the tea leaves on this one and trying to find a way to get around an injunction from a lower court and have the Supreme Court take it up immediately," said Robert McCann, spokesman for state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing. "He's trying to short-circuit the appropriate legal route on this bill." 
Zach Pohl, executive director of Progress Michigan, a liberal activist group, said the governor's request was both misplaced and "pretty breath-taking." 
"First, the governor bypassed normal committee hearings to sign the right-to-work bill, and now he wants to bypass the normal legal procedure to get the Republican-controlled Supreme Court to rubber stamp that decision," he said.