UNITE HERE v. Mulhall

Sean Lengell of the Washington Examiner quotes me in a preview of the upcoming Supreme Court case about whether the provision of federal labor law barring employers from giving a labor union a “thing of value” prohibits “neutrality agreements” in which an employer provides its employee lists or free office space to union organizers. A broad ruling to that effect would wrest a major weapon away from unions, which is one reason I’m doubtful it will happen:

“Those that would like to rein in this type of union agreement, whether it be business or conservatives, shouldn’t get too overconfident,” said Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute. “Getting the justices to see the logic of Mulhall’s argument is one thing; getting them to act and sign a decision [in his favor] is something else.”

Olson added the justices may be looking for a way out of having to make a definitive ruling.

“I think the court’s instincts are not to pull too hard at the columns of the temple on labor law, because they’re not sure where it’s going to fall,” he said.

Update: reactions to Mulhall oral argument from Jack Goldsmith (and more), Ben Sachs, Cato’s Trevor Burrus, and William Gould/SCOTUSBlog.


  • If we use Google, et al, as the standard any information about any person is of value. Case closed. Oh, unions expect special treatment for all those political contributions to the Dems…never mind.

  • What special treatment have Unions received? Much less than 10% of workers are unionized.
    Look at corporate lobbying money and right wing election money. I would trade the union contributions for the much larger anti-union money any day.