Who’s Behind Friedrichs?

Source: Adele M. Stan, American Prospect, October 29, 2015

The right-wing one-percenters who are funding a mega-attack on unions.

…The right of unions to collect fair share fees was settled by the court’s unanimous decision in 1977’s Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. In her dissenting opinion in Harris, Justice Elena Kagan noted that the fair-share issues Alito brought up were not even before the court in Harris. Alito’s questioning of the Abood precedent, however, signaled an inclination by the conservative majority to revisit it.

Alito’s invitation to reconsider Abood helped ensure that Friedrichs tore through the legal system at high speed. But the real force propelling Friedrichs’ gallop through the courts was the Center for Individual Rights (CIR), the right-wing pro-bono law group that is representing teacher Rebecca Friedrichs and her fellow plaintiffs: At each stage in the legal process, CIR attorneys asked the courts to rule against their own clients, with the apparent interest of moving the case up to the Supreme Court as quickly as possible…..

….Since its founding, the Center for Individual Rights has maintained a special focus on challenging civil-rights measures, especially affirmative action….. The list of foundations and donor-advised funds supporting the Center for Individual Rights reads like a who’s who of the right’s organized opposition to labor. …. According to journalist Laura Flanders, earlier in its history CIR also enjoyed the support of the Pioneer Fund, a white supremacist organization devoted to the promotion of eugenics. Flanders, writing in The Nation in 1999, found through an examination of the group’s tax records that the Pioneer Fund had made three separate grants to CIR. While the involvement of the Pioneer Fund in CIR may seem unrelated to the law group’s anti-union work, it is not uncommon for organizations opposed to the interests of labor to also have histories of antipathy to other forms of civil rights…..