In case you’ve been on a deserted desert island over the last couple of weeks, the Supreme Court of these United States has made several more decisions which will have long-lasting and far-reaching effects throughout this country. I’d like to offer my “take” on what these rulings mean.
In the first case, “Burwell versus Hobby Lobby,” the Supreme Court of the United States declared in a divided 5-4 decision that they did not believe the United States Congress had enacted either the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” or the ”Affordable Care Act” in order to force the owners of family-run businesses to violate their deeply-held religious beliefs.
They also made it very clear that the actions of the United States Congress were not intended to result in all of those companies’ employees losing their existing healthcare plans as a result of their employers’ actions. We all knew that!
How will this ruling affect the average ordinary Americans? Well, in the case of the Hobby Lobby ruling you do NOT have to work for Hobby Lobby to be affected by their decision.
Anyone who owns a “for-profit” company can now make a decision about providing healthcare to their employees at least partially based upon whether or not offering a specific plan would violate their own personal religious beliefs.
Politically, our nation’s two political parties are probably going to make the issue of medical insurance a “football” in the upcoming national elections, with accusations about intentions to limit birth control and other related medical procedures in privately-held companies’ healthcare programs provided to their female employees or female family members of their employees.
In the second case, “New Process Steel versus the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB),” the Supreme Court of the United States ruled unanimously that when President Hussein Barack Obama’s three recent National Labor Board appointments were made, the Senate was in the midst of a 3-day recess.
This, the Court stated, was too short a period of time to allow the President to use the “Recess Appointment Clause” that allows for Executive appointments to be made without consulting the Senate.
This ruling has just opened a huge can of worms, for every one of the over 430 decisions made in the last nineteen months by the National Labor Relations Board since Obama’s appointees assumed their seats on the Board may now be challenged in court. Personally, this fact makes me want to shout “Hallelujah!” and “Oh, Joy!” at the same time.
Why, you ask? Well, in order to answer that question, it is necessary to examine exactly what the NLRB has ruled upon since the now-invalidate Board appointments. The NLRB oversees company-employee disputes and oversees union organizing elections, and it is their rulings concerning America’s unions which may be challenged, and possibly overthrown, en-masse.
It was a dispute between the Noel Canning Company in Washington State and kits union employees that resulted in a challenge in the nation’s highest court. Over 100 of the NLRB’s rulings made in these last nineteen months are already in the nation’s appeals courts. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled Obama’s appointments invalid expect that number of challenges to skyrocket.
So, how will this affect the American employee of any of our nation’s companies? For instance, it means that every change ordered by the NLRB in relations to company social media policies concerning employees’ posts about the companies on those sites, as well as changes ordered made in employee rules and regulations as defined in their company handbooks can be disputed. Yes!
It also means that company decisions to move, relocate, or make physical changes in their operations denied by the NLRB can be revisited as well, such as Boeings’ attempt to expand their production line at one of their plants in South Carolina which was challenged by the unions.
The greater wisdom here, I believe, would be make such decisions in courts where judges are not political appointees and have life-time appointments freed from political and other pressures. That is, if you are one who believes that any these decisions really needed to be made by the courts in the beginning!
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