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We the People: A Trump bench could demolish the pillars of progressivism

Donald Trump called for “punishment” of women who exercise their right to seek an abortion. He wants Supreme Court justices who will investigate Secretary of State Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server. His statements make little sense.

Meanwhile, Secretary Clinton delivered a strong speech to an audience at the University of Wisconsin where she blasted Republicans who complain about Donald Trump but close their eyes to the policies of division and distrust that led to his rise as a candidate. She reminded the audience that Republicans are now obstructing Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. She warned that if Trump — who “believes Muslims should be banned from entering this country because of their faith … [and] … wants to round up 11 million immigrants and kick them out” — were elected, he would “nominate multiple justices” to the Supreme Court who “in a single term” could demolish the pillars of progressivism.

She contended that Trump represented the GOP’s acceptance of “extremist tactics” like his 2011 “birther movement,” a thinly veiled racist campaign to discredit President Obama’s citizenship, which suggested that he was not a U.S. citizen and wasn’t born in the United States. It followed a cue from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell whose “No. 1 goal was to prevent the president’s reelection.”

Clinton criticized Republicans for claiming that Americans must “wait for a new president because … the American people shouldn’t be denied a voice” in the nomination of a Supreme Court justice although “more than 65 million Americans” voted for Barack Obama and their voices are “being ignored right now” because of GOP obstructionism.

The understaffed Supreme Court just ruled 4-4 in Friedrichs v. California Teachers that unions can collect dues from public employees who would rather not be in a union. The split decision let a lower court pro-union ruling stand. Since 1977, the law required non-union public employees to pay dues to contribute to the cost of collective bargaining since they get the benefit of union bargaining. The collected dues from non-members can be used for political or ideological advocacy, but they are essential for all represented workers and without them there would be no “fair allocation” of the cost to get the benefits for union and non-union employees.

In half of the states, laws bar public employee unions from collecting mandatory fees from non-union members but 23 states permit collection from all employees represented by a collective bargaining agreement. If these plaintiffs succeeded, and they would have succeeded if one more conservative, anti-labor jurist was on the bench, then tens of thousands of collective bargaining agreements governing millions of teachers, police officers and other public employees would have been called into question.

A decision for these plaintiffs would have banned dues collection from any employee who would rather not pay them. It would have been a major blow to organized labor. It would gag the voices of teachers, cops, bus drivers and other public employees. This was not a First Amendment battle over compelled speech. Rather, it was a battle over the “little guys” being able to raise money to have a seat at the “big boys table” in order to bargain for good working conditions. A Trump bench would have silenced the little guys.

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According to berniesanders.com, he believes that “the test of a great and powerful nation is not how many wars it can engage in, but how it can resolve international conflicts in a peaceful manner.” As president, he promises to “move away from a policy of unilateral military action, and toward a policy of emphasizing diplomacy … ensure that any military action we do engage in has clear goals, is limited in scope, and whenever possible provides support to our allies in the region … [and] … expand our global influence by promoting fair trade, addressing global climate change, providing humanitarian relief and economic assistance, defending the rule of law, and promoting human rights.”

Sanders, however, was almost invisible on national security issues and did not seek out assignments to committees dealing with foreign affairs, defense or intelligence when he served in the Senate.

Neville Chamberlain was the prime minister of Great Britain when Europe spiraled into World War II. He became PM on May 28, 1937 and was suddenly thrust into a position which required him to be deeply involved in complex European foreign policy. He had no experience in foreign affairs and frequently took the advice of advisors but his policies of reaction and appeasement actually led in less than two years to the war that he hoped to avoid.

He once said, “We should seek by all means in our power to avoid war, by analyzing possible causes, by trying to remove them, by discussion in a spirit of collaboration and good will.”That sounds good just like Sander’s general propositions and nebulous statements, but we need a leader with experience in foreign affairs. Hillary Clinton has the experience to deal with rapidly changing international crises and complex foreign policy.

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