When Joe Biden began his Presidential campaign at a labor union hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the then-candidate emphatically stated, “I am a Union man. Period.” Biden promised that if elected, he would be the most pro-worker, “most pro-union president you’ve ever seen.”
With his first opportunity to nominate a justice for a lifetime term to the Supreme Court of the United States, President Biden has laudably pledged to nominate the first Black woman to the Court. This is an important commitment that should be celebrated. We, the Labor and Employment Committee of the National Lawyers Guild, further call on President Biden to make good on his promise to be a pro-union president and announce a nominee whose legal career demonstrates a commitment to advancing the interests of workers and unions, not corporations.
Too many judges in the federal courts, whether appointed by Democrat or Republican presidents, spent their careers at corporate firms representing corporate clients. As a result, the federal courts are often hostile to the legal claims of workers, or at best, are overly sympathetic to the legal positions of corporate defendants. It is no surprise that judges from corporate backgrounds, statistically, are significantly more likely to rule in favor of employers over employees.
As recent high-profile strikes challenge the longstanding, exploitative structure of American workplaces, it is especially urgent that workers and unions have a Supreme Court Justice who understands the uphill legal battle workers face when they bring their claims in federal court for workplace discrimination or unpaid wages. President Biden should name a nominee who has experience challenging the unfair labor practices of a union-busting employer at the National Labor Relations Board, not someone who has used their law degree to defend union-busting tactics.
We urge President Biden to nominate a pro-worker and pro-union justice to the Supreme Court who, like the National Lawyers Guild, values human and labor rights over property interests.