Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1986

Abstract

Bernard Meltzer has testified under oath that he "rarely take[s] absolute positions." The record bears him out. While his colleagues among labor law scholars often strain to demonstrate that the labor relations statutes and even the Constitution support their hearts' desires, the typical Meltzer stance is one of cool detachment, pragmatic assessment, and cautious, balanced judgment. The "itch to do good," Meltzer has remarked wryly, "is a doubtful basis for jurisdiction" -or, he would likely add, for any other legal conclusion. In this brief commentary I propose to examine the Meltzer approach to four broad areas of labor law: (1) the regulation of employer and union economic weapons; (2) labor relations and the antitrust laws; (3) competing and overlapping rights and remedies; and (4) the treatment of racial discrimination. From this overview I would say that Meltzer is at his best in the clear-eyed untangling of legislative intent and the even-handed appraisal of opposing interests. He fares less well, I think, in responding to flesh-and-blood exigencies, including the needs and demands of rank-and-file workers.


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