Saturday, August 23, 2008

VP Biden Good Sign for Workers?

Now that Obama has slated Biden as his VP running-mate, we wonder what this means to us personally. Anyone who works, or wants to work, in this country should think about what might happen to the Supreme Court under the next president.

Supreme Court justices hold the power to shape the workplace of the average worker. The judges ultimately decide what the discrimination laws mean, how the federal pay laws apply to workers, and even the protections afforded to older workers, or the graying workforce, as some have called it.

The Supreme Court justices are graying themselves, there likely will be at least two vacancies in the very near future. These judges are appointed for life and will impact the laws for workers for generations to come.

Biden voted against the last two Supreme Court justices appointed, Associate Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts. Workers' rights groups vigorously opposed these appointments based on their assessments of the rulings Roberts and Alito previously had made as federal judges. Biden also voted against Alberto R. Gonzales for Attorney General. Former Attorney General Gonzalez since has been linked to the hiring scandal in his office for allegedly violating federal law and Justice Department policy by discriminating against job applicants who weren't Republican or conservative loyalists.

Biden could be good news for workers if his past Congressional voting record is any indication. To the extent that he influences the appointments of any new Supreme Court judges it could be a thumbs-up for workers.