What’s the difference between anti-abortion protesters and union protesters? One group has the right to invade private property and interfere with a business. The other does not.
The California Supreme Court upheld two state laws Thursday that permit labor unions to picket on privately owned property at store entrances.
The two state laws, which specifically prevent courts from interfering with peaceful labor pickets on private property, are justified “by the state’s interest in promoting collective bargaining to resolve labor disputes,” Justice Joyce L. Kennard wrote for the court.
Other demonstrators have no free speech rights to gather in front of a store’s privately owned entrance. But California “may single out labor-related speech for particular protection or regulation” as an exercise in the economic regulation of labor relations without running afoul of the U.S. Constitution, Kennard wrote.
The Constitution has become one of those punch lines to activist liberal judges. It can be added on to anything as a joke.
Give special rights to unions? Sure. It’s not against the Constitution. (Drum Roll)
The Sacramento store, more than five years ago, is located in the College Square retail development. In its complaint against the union, filed in April 2008, the company contended that the picketing in front of the 31-foot-wide store entrance amounted to trespass.
The union responded that the proposed injunction would violate Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 527.3, also known as the Moscone Act, and Labor Code Sec. 1138.1. The Moscone Act says that peaceful picketing and similar activities, in connection with a labor dispute, “shall be legal, and no court nor any judge nor judges thereof, shall have jurisdiction to issue any restraining order or preliminary or permanent injunction which, in specific or general terms, prohibits any person or persons, whether singly or in concert, from” engaging in such conduct.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Loren McMaster ruled that the Moscone Act was unconstitutional because it constitutes “content-based discrimination.
In reversing, the Third District said both statutes are unconstitutional because they grant greater rights to those expressing pro-union views that those speaking on other subjects.
The panel also said that because the store is not a public forum, cases like Robins v. Pruneyard Shopping Center (1979) 23 Cal.3d 899, applying the state constitutional “liberty of speech” to some private property, do not apply.
Kennard’s response was, that giving greater rights to pro-union views was just fine.
The Court of Appeal, she said, erred in relying on U.S. Supreme Court rulings that invalidated an ordinance barring picketing near schools, and a statute barring picketing at a residence, both of which included exceptions for labor picketing.
Those cases are distinguishable, Kennard said, because the stricken enactments barred otherwise protected speech unconnected with a labor dispute.
“By contrast, invalidating here the Moscone Act and section 1138.1 would not remove any restrictions on speech or enhance any opportunities for peaceful picketing or protest anywhere, including the privately owned walkway in front of the customer entrance to the College Square Foods Co store,” the justice wrote. “This is because neither the Moscone Act nor section 1138.1 abridges speech.”
Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and Justices Marvin Baxter, Carol Corrigan, Goodwin Liu and Kathryn M. Werdegar joined Kennard’s opinion.
If you’re still following this comedy, the Supreme Multicultural Court of California ruled that giving special rights to unions to trespass and protest on private property is not unconstitutional because since no one has any right to trespass on private property, giving special rights to unions to do so does not prevent anyone else from also doing what they could not do anyway.
Similarly if a law granted union thugs a special right to take over television stations and broadcast their views, there would be nothing unconstitutional about it because no one else has the right to take over television stations.
In completely unrelated news, businesses are fleeing California for some inexplicable reason.