Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Progressive Breakfast: Teacher Union Case Underscores The Importance Of The Supreme Court

MORNING MESSAGE

The case, Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association, was about whether public employee unions could collect a “fair share fee” from employees who benefit from what unions spend on collective bargaining and union representation but choose not to become members of the union ... It was expected that the Court would rule 5-4 against the unions. However, [the] announcement of a 4-4 tie in the absence of Scalia means a lower court ruling in the unions’ favor will stand.

SANDERS, CLINTON CRISS-CROSS WISCONSIN

Bernie Sanders looks to turn out Madison to win WIsconsin. Politico: “When Bernie Sanders takes the stage at a town hall in Madison on Wednesday, it’ll seem like a homecoming of sorts … there are few places more familiar with Sanders – or more enamored of him … It’s not only the second-most populous city in the state after Milwaukee, it’s the heart of a congressional district that will provide more delegates than any other in the state … [But w]hile Sanders appears tailor-made for Madison, Clinton is well-positioned in the state’s largest city, Milwaukee, which is more than twice as big.”
Sanders dings Clinton on Wall St. speeches in Appleton. Appleton Post-Crescent quotes: “I’d rather be here with you in Appleton than begging billionaires for their money … I don’t know why, don’t know why, but Wall Street has not invited me to give a speech. I don’t need $225,000, I don’t need $2,000 or $2, but I would like to say a few things.”
Clinton touts union backing in Green Bay. Green Bay Press Gazette quotes: “I really believe the American labor movement helped to create the American middle class, and I believe strongly we have to counterbalance the power of the economic interests in this country. That’s why I’m so proud to have the endorsement of about 23 national unions, because I’ve always fought for them.”
Clinton stumps in Harlem today. NYT: “…after two days of campaigning in Wisconsin, she will come home [to] rally voters at the Apollo Theater … Mrs. Clinton needs to win — and win significantly — in New York to put to rest any suspicion of weakness in her candidacy …”
Economist Robert Pollin says “Bernie Sanders Will Make the Economy Great Again” in The Nation: “All of his major proposals are grounded in solid economic reasoning and evidence … The Sanders program is capable of raising living standards and reducing insecurity for working people and the poor, expanding higher educational opportunities, and reversing the decades-long trend toward rising inequality … None of Sanders’s liberal critics have shown how, overall, these developments would be harmful to economic growth.”

REPUBLICANS BREAK THEIR PLEDGES

All Republicans abandon their pledges to support eventual nominee. WSJ: “…none of the three remaining candidates on Tuesday [at a CNN town halll] promised to stick to their pledge to support the nominee if their own campaign falls short …
Trump attacks Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin. WSJ: “… Mr. Trump accused Mr. Walker of overstating the strength of the state’s economy, a criticism that fell on receptive ears of an audience that booed at the mention of their governor’s name. The audience also surprised Mr. Trump by booing the mention of a local luminary, House Speaker Paul Ryan, whose hometown is Janesville … when the crowd booed, he said, ‘Wow. I was told to be nice to Paul Ryan.'”
W. Post explores whether Trump or Cruz would let Democrats take the House. W. Post: “[In 2012,] a historically low 10 percent of voters cast ballots for their member of Congress different from the party affiliation of their presidential candidate. If the decline of ticket splitting holds, a landslide loss by a party’s presidential nominee would mean a disaster in the House. ‘Now that it’s extremely likely that the Republican Party will nominate Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, congressional Republicans are entering uncharted and potentially dangerous territory,’ Dave Wasserman, an independent House expert, recently wrote for the Cook Political Report.”
More GOP support for Trump than Rep. Paul Ryan in PPP poll. Roll Call: “Nearly 60 percent of Republican primary voters would be comfortable with Donald Trump as their presidential nominee … 42 percent responded favorably [to a Ryan nomination] while 45 percent did not. The numbers were even worse for [Mitt[ Romney: 28 percent to 62 percent …”
Trump and Cruz oppose a carbon tax. Bloomberg: “The top two Republican presidential candidates’ positions on that and other environmental issues were detailed in their responses to a survey by the American Energy Alliance, a free-market, fossil-fuel advocacy group … Cruz has made no secret of his skepticism of climate change and previously signaled that he opposes taxing the carbon dioxide emissions blamed by scientists for rising global temperatures. The biggest surprise … was Trump’s flat rejection of a carbon tax, a position that runs contrary to the views of BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Statoil ASA and other companies, which favor the policy as a predictable way of tackling greenhouse gas emissions.”

GARLAND CHARM OFFENSIVE IN EFFECT

GOP Sen. Mark Kirk urges colleagues to meet with Garland. NYT: “With Judge Garland by his side, Mr. Kirk praised Mr. Obama’s pick as ‘one of the most eminent judges in the country.’ ‘I think when you just say, “I’m not going to meet with him,” that’s too close-minded,’ Mr. Kirk said.”
WH sees progress in Garland fight. Politico: “With small cracks emerging in the Republican Supreme Court blockade — and private indications from some GOP senators that they’d likely back Merrick Garland if he ever did come up for a vote — the White House is preparing to press its perceived political advantage when senators return from their recess next week … the White House is looking to load his schedule full with the 52 additional senators (including 16 Republicans) who’ve said publicly they’ll see the judge…”
Tie vote in union case could bolster Garland’s case. NYT: “Not only did [Democrats] get to celebrate the union win made possible by the outcome, it also provided a high-profile opportunity to remind Americans that the stalemate over the vacancy will limit the court’s ability to act — even though the failure to do so in this case played to the Democrats’ advantage.”
Court seeks to avert tie in contraception coverage case. NYT: ” The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued an unusual order indicating that the justices are trying to avoid a 4-to-4 deadlock in a case pitting religious freedom against access to contraception. The order, which was unsigned, directed the parties to file supplemental briefs…”

FIGHT FOR $15 LOOKS AHEAD

After California deal, Fight for $15 turns to New York. The Atlantic: “Unlike California, New York could create different minimum-wage time lines for New York City as compared with the rest of the state. But the Golden State proposal includes key ‘off ramps’ that have not—thus far—been under consideration in New York … ‘We would oppose the kind of off ramps proposed in California, and they’re not under consideration in New York,’ said Bill Lipton, the state director of the New York Working Families Party.”
Wage gap for men worsened in 2015. W. Post: “The wage gap among men saw its largest single-year increase on record. Top earners — men who made more than 95 percent of their peers — saw wages last year rise by 9.9 percent, according to an [Economic Policy Institute] analysis of federal data. Men in the middle — with earnings higher than half their peers — saw a much-smaller 2.6 percent increase.”

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