As if it wasn’t enough for ruling-class warrior Neil Gorsuch to gut the National Labor Relations Act by placing the supposed intent of the 1925 Federal Arbitration Act over and above the New Deal legislation that addressed obvious asymmetries of bargaining power, Justice Gorsuch spiked the football on workers today in his 5-4 opinion by including a footnote, in Middle English no less, upholding the 1351 Statute of Laborers Act. Let me explain. After the Black Death (part one of it, at any rate) the ruling classes had far less bargaining power over the surviving peasants. All pretense of “voluntary mutual agreements” was abandoned by the ruling class when Parliament passed the 1351 law stipulating that workers were not allowed to leave their employers (the landowners or business owners) to seek better wages. Neil Gorsuch follows up in his pre-Chaucer footnote when he states (I hereby translate his words into 21st-century idiom) that “all that free market stuff was just a smokescreen, suckers. Serfs gonna stay serfs, cuz you can’t possibly afford to go to court one by one. Ain’t gonna happen. Sit yourselves down or we’ll put you in the private prison and you’ll dream of the good times when you could eat generic hamburger helper. Same as it was in 1351, same as it’s gonna be from here on out. Get Congress to change it, bwahahaha.”
Judge Neil Gorsuch is technically correct to say this afternoon that we do not live in Caligula’s world. Bad news is that we live in the Emperor Elagabulus’s world. You can look it up.
Will any Congressional Republicans pull themselves away from celebrating the nomination of Neil Gorsuch and take note of President Trump’s easing/”I am not easing” of sanctions on Russian intelligence agencies?
If somebody offered me 19 or 19.5 percent of the Russian petrostate and sent it to a Cayman Islands shell company, I might be tempted to do something nice for them. Is that what is happening here? Did President Trump acknowledge it by speaking of finding a “pretext” for lifting sanctions? Hard to be at all sure, but it’s not a question I expected to need to ask.