The Wider World

Justice Kennedy retiring; unions take hit

THE U.S. SUPREME COURT; Anthony Kennedy is sitting in the front row, second from left (Wikipedia).

The U.S. Supreme Court made headlines and history on Wednesday when it issued a major ruling on labor unions and one member of the panel announced his retirement.

On a 5-4 vote, the high court ruled in an Illinois case that public employees can’t be required to pay “agency fees” to labor unions to represent them in collective bargaining.

The case could affect millions of government workers. Generally, they cannot be required to join a union, but in some instances can be compelled to pay a fee to cover the cost of representing employees in negotiating with management.

Later in the day, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, 81, considered the “swing vote” in many major decisions such as gay rights and abortion, announced he would retire after nearly three decades on the nation’s highest court.

The president appoints nominees to the Supreme Court, who must be then be approved by a simply majority of the Senate. That body currently has 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats.



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