Missouri Supreme Court Concocts Duty Out of Thin Air

“I have the right to write for the Missouri Intelligencer.”  This right is founded in natural law and on that basis has been codified in our state constitution.  More generally it’s referred to as Freedom of Speech.   Freedom of speech is just one of the rights that our founders secured for us in our Missouri Constitution.  There are others located in Article I, Bill of Rights.  Many are recognized as natural or organic rights.  Some natural rights, such as the right to move freely about our state or the right to breathe Missouri air, are so basic that they weren’t even reduced to writing.  Your right not to read what I write or listen to my opinions is one of these. Nonetheless these rights exist as natural law, and no just law, written or unwritten, can prevent you from moving or breathing or exercising them, unless you are infringing on the rights of others.

Natural rights confer no responsibility or duty upon anyone else, except not to interfere or infringe upon your rights. In other words, you have a right  to attend church, to assemble peaceably, to negotiate, to contract, and to breathe; but no one else is constitutionally obligated to assemble with you or build a church building and hire a preacher for you, or provide a venue for you in which to assemble peaceably, or enter in a contract with you, or buy you a tank of oxygen. You may try to convince others to join you in these activities or find a willing party with whom to contact for goods and services, but no one has the duty to listen or respond to you. Is this not sound reasoning?

Guess what the Missouri Supreme Court recently said about this reasoning?  On November 20th, the court effectively said in response to my opening paragraph: “The absence of such a duty (requiring others to read) would render meaningless the right (of me to write) under article I (of the Missouri Constitution).  In the reviewed case, Fraternal Orders of Police v. City of Chesterfield and University City Nos. SC91736 and SC91737, the court ruled that municipalities have the duty to negotiate with the exclusive bargaining representative of policemen solely because the Missouri Constitution states, in Article I, Section 29, That employees shall have the right to organize and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing. This decision violates the long-standing precedent of Quinn v. Buchanan (298 S.W.2d 417 Mo. banc 1957.) This precedent clearly held that the right of employees to organize does not imply the affirmative duty of a city to bargain collectively. If a public employer chooses to bargain, then the legislature may establish the bargaining framework. In dissent Judge Fischer points out that this framework is a matter for the legislature, not the courts. If courts overrule this precedent, they are infringing on the separation of powers.

This opinion is preposterous and absurd.  I exercise my right to state that the officers of this state have a duty, under their oath, to rectify or ignore the court’s ruling (or power grab.) Out of thin air, which each of us has the right to breathe, the court has concocted a duty where none exists.  Wonder if they will concoct a duty to read my condemnation of their opinion?

Bruce Hillis