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An opportunity for Spitzer

New York Attorney General/Aspiring Governor Eliot Spitzer has been infamous for filing lawsuits on subjects normally under the jurisdiction of the SEC or FDA or other federal regulatory agencies through aggressive prosecutions under aggressive and overreaching constructions of amorphous laws. Now, he has the chance to enforce an actual New York state law on a local matter squarely in his jurisdiction. Local 100's illegal transit strike in New York City not only violates the Taylor Law and a court injunction, but will also cost New York businesses over half a billion dollars a day and taxpayers another $20 million a day, and that's before one considers the environmental damage from the traffic jams, the health costs from those who get sick from exposure to the winter elements, and the ruined vacations of tourists. Will Spitzer seek the full measure of damages on behalf of New York citizenry, and criminal penalties for the criminal contempt of the union leadership, or are aggressive measures not called for when Democratic constitutencies clearly violate specific laws and judicial orders? One possible sign: the New York Times' story on potential legal options mentions only the abstract New York attorney general's office, rather than putting the responsibility on any individual in that office with both authority and political ambitions.

Update: On December 21, Spitzer issued a press release taking the right position. Don't feel sorry for the unions; as Walter notes on Overlawyered, amnesty from the fines is usually negotiated as part of any final deal with the union, which is why anything short of imprisonment will have no coercive effect.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.