October 28, 2012
Bodie on Labor, Corporate, and Political Speech
Matt Bodle (St.Louis Univ.) recently published in the Columbia Law Review's Sidebar, his essay "Labor Speech, Corporate Spreech, and Polictical Speech: A Response to Professor Sachs." The piece provides a rejoinder to Ben Sachs' argument that shareholders should be given similar objector rights to employees represented by unions. From the conclusion:
The ability of union consumers—those enjoying the fruits of representation—to opt out of political expenses is asymmetrical and improper. But Professor Sachs’s correction for this asymmetry is flawed. In order for his theory to be operationalized fairly, there would need to be opt-out rights for all economic participants who provided support for speech with which they disagree. Instead of attempting to separate these myriad intertwined strands, we should instead recognize that unions’ political activities are part of their business of providing representation services to employees. If represented employees are to pay their fair share of representation, these costs must be included as well. To provide otherwise is to unfairly restrict unions in their ability to participate in the marketplace for ideas. On this basic principle, Sachs and I agree.
This issue is likely to be important for a long time and this is another interesting take on the problem, so check it out.
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I continue to find it disturbing that so many people are willing to blow off rent-seeking and bribery (call it what you will; we all know what is really going on with these campaign contributions) as "ordinary business expenditures." Ordinary business expenditures don't return ten dollars for every dollar spent.
I appreciate the verbal dexterity of Professors Sachs and Bodle-- really, I love a good legal yarn more than most-- but nothing short of a constitutional amendment that declares that monetary payments are not "speech" within the meaning of the First Amendment will solve this issue. And that won't happen without massive citizen protests, as the present-day financial elite has a vested interest in retaining the current system (in which law and justice can be bought and sold like grain futures).
Posted by: Anon | Nov 1, 2012 3:35:22 AM