The whole country is enraptured with the suspense and drama swirling around the Brett Kavanaugh U.S. Supreme Court nomination, confirmation, and investigation. It’s Law and Order, The Peoples Court, Survivor, and The Bachelor all rolled into one huge spectacle worthy of a reality TV program.
Here in the West “by God” Virginia, the party in control has taken a more direct route to tilting the court in their favor; impeachment of the entire court!
Democrats call the actions of the Republican controlled Legislature a “coup“; a chance for the State GOP to seize West Virginia’s judicial apparatus. Republicans claim it as due diligence to reign in out of control spending by the justices.
Further exacerbating the situation is West Virginia Governor Jim Justice’s appointment of Tim Armstead and Evan Jenkins to fill the vacated positions. Both appointees have a track record of being heavily partisan, and not a friend of working people. Both are dyed in the wool Republicans replacing two duly elected Democrat justices, former Judge Davis and former Judge Ketchum. Remember, they were elected before legislation was passed that made judicial candidates “non-partisan“, a dubious ploy to hide a nominees agenda from voters.
We won’t re-hash all the softball and laundered hints that we have offered over the past few years, but, in the labor movement, we have one party to thank for the attacks and pre-packaged, American Legislative Council (ALEC) legislation that gave us non-partisan designation for our candidates for our courts, a repeal of the prevailing wage, and Right To Work (for less).
What you need to know is that in every level of our County, State, and Federal judiciary dark money is being used to hijack our court systems in order to cheat the average citizen in favor of lining the pockets of those shadowy benefactors feeding groups like The Judicial Crisis Network, whose ads in favor of Brent Kavanaugh can be seen all over your TV. According to media reports, there has been over $10 million dollars spent, largely by right wing non-profits, to sell Kavanaugh to the American people.
The West Virginia Supreme Court made themselves a target when they opposed Right To Work (for less) and ruled in favor of the West Virginia AFL-CIO, on behalf of our state’s working people, but that was just the last straw in a process that started many years ago when another right wing group labeled our state a “judicial hellhole.”
In our last post, your union stated that we would not tell you how to pray of vote. That still goes, but we owe it to our membership to make them aware of how one thing affects another in the face of devastating forces combining to make your union’s job of protecting our membership harder.
Do your own research, and we think you’ll come to the conclusion we have. Visit Politifact, Open Secrets, Snopes, or any other reputable fact checking and research sites to see for yourself (or you can click on any of the links in this article).
Why is this so important?
Justice is a common denominator in all successful democracies. The labor movement itself was born out of injustice, as was our entire nation. In our state, at the turn of the twentieth century, the only justice a worker had was to accept whatever his employer told him was just. He had no recourse, which caused a lack of hope and caused much desperation. When the fledgling U.M.W.A. showed up in the coal fields, they offered workers a chance at self determination, as well as a better life for their family.
The coal barons summoned their political pets to deploy the National Guard and used hired gunman, who held themselves above the law, to try to break up the organizing efforts. Known union sympathizers were “blackballed” and labeled trouble makers, communists, socialists, and rednecks. Many times they were beaten and even killed, along with many innocent bystanders.
As it stands today, The United Mine Workers is a shadow of it’s former self, with mechanization, and the decline of the coal industry, yet black lung cases are on the rise as the union still fights to keep the promises to their members of pensions and healthcare.
The UMWA isn’t the only unions under attack. The United States Postal Service, which is represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) has been fighting off repeated attempts to privatize our mail service.
West Virginia’s teachers have been on the front line of our labor movement, with it’s successful strike over cuts to PEIA (Public Employees Insurance Association), and the lack of wage increases. The crisis was bad enough for the NEA and the AFT, for the first time in history, to team up in solidarity to fight it. Like we’ve said all along, UNION IS UNION!
As the events in our state spread to other states, The Federal Supreme Court decision in Janus versus AFCME, delivered another blow to public employees, including teachers, and their unions (of course, what no one is reporting is the promotion Mark Janus got AFTER the decision).
Bottom line is that, as West Virginia workers and voters, we have to turn out in force and do everything we can to restore and heal the attack on our justice system, because without justice the only answer in anarchy!