Mitchell: The Mad Man Training Trump to Destroy Unions
His recent appointment gives him power to oversea government costs and regulations
Jonathan Mitchell has a long history of working on Conservative causes. He started his legal career as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia before working at the Justice Department under George W. Bush, teaching at several law schools and then working as the Texas Solicitor General. He also began working on filing cases challenging unions rights in the workplace. In Washington State, Mitchell and his firm got paired up with a young lawyer from the anti-union Freedom Foundation to open up their next challenge to unions in the United States. Their lawsuit, filed before the Janus decision was even reached, demanded that one of the state’s largest federal unions disgorge and refund dues that were paid by non-members. Similar lawsuits have been filed in strong union states like Illinois, New York and California. According to the New York Times, this case could have major ramifications in the future, since companies and organizations could be held retroactively liable if the Supreme Court shoots down a precedent like affirmative action. Not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars it would cost labor unions.
At the same time, Mitchell was being considered for a position in the Trump administration. During the transition period, Mitchell served as a volunteer attorney for Trump’s transition team approving executive orders. Then in September, Trump appointed him to head the Administrative Conference of the United States, a small government agency that works to reduce costs and regulations in the federal government.
Since the position requires Senate approval, Mitchell has not yet taken over as the head of the agency yet. However, in the ensuing months, Trump has begun changing a number of regulations regarding the federal workforce. As UCOMM previously reported, Trump is now being sued by AFGE over numerous collective bargaining agreement violations. This makes the appointment quite suspect. By putting the mastermind behind a national legal campaign to bankrupt unions, Trump is signaling that he wants to take a hardline approach to labor relations within the federal government.
In his hearings, Democratic Senators have worried that his pick was meant to curb federal agencies from issuing new guidelines and regulations. During the Obama years, the Labor Department issued many of these new rules to increase people who qualified for overtime and to require more disclosure of the people funding union busting drives. These regulations can often be used to help the working man and woman without having to get through the gridlocked Congress.
“Mr. Mitchell has given us no information about how he got involved in these cases and who is backing them financially,” Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said about Mitchell before voting against his nomination. “If he is a clandestine operative of the same powerful ultraconservative special interests out to cripple unions, he is not fit to serve in this post.”
Although the White House voted against him, his nomination still passed the Judiciary Committee. He is now on to a vote by the full Senate after which, if approved, the mastermind behind the campaign to bankrupt unions will be in charge of reducing costs and regulations for the federal government.