SCOTUS: California Farmers Seek Supreme Court Constitutional Protection

WASHINGTON, DC: Southeastern Legal Foundation joined a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief filed by NFIB Legal Center supporting farmers challenging an unconstitutional law that imposes special legal burdens on particular employers. Backing up, in 2015, a California Court of Appeals handed the small business community a “major win.” The decision in Gerawan Farming v. Agricultural Labor Relations Board pronounced that California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Act (Cal. ALRA) violated both the California and the U.S. Constitution in singling-out employers for special legal burdens—above and beyond those imposed by generally applicable law.

More specifically, the decision held that amendments to Cal. ALRA were unconstitutional in authorizing a state agency, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB), to compel a private employer into a collective bargaining agreement with a union. Unfortunately, this week the California Supreme Court reversed that decision.

As SLF and NFIB Legal Center argue in their amicus brief, it is flatly unconstitutional to create specialized legal burdens through an imposed contract. But setting aside the question of whether government can single-out an employer for more burdensome employment standards, is it even constitutional for government to force a business (or anyone) into a contract where there is no actual agreement? Do individuals have a constitutional right to withhold assent to a contract? We are hopeful the U.S. Supreme Court will grant certiorari and answer these questions soon.

Click here for Supreme Court brief

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