Federal bureaucrats issue judge-less subpoena to support SEIU position
In responding to allegations that, if true, would cost only $50,000 in penalties, McDonald’s has spent $1 million producing 160,000 pages of documents to comply with an “administrative subpoena” issued by the National Labor Relations Board.
The administrative subpoena seeking emails and excessive amounts of documents seems to be punishment for McDonald’s position against a $15 an hour minimum wage for fast food workers. The NLRB appears to be pushing a political position of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
The [NLRB] general counsel's subpoena also seeks information on McDonald's involvement in countering union-backed nationwide protests seeking a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers, which it says could indicate a joint employment relationship. [Snip.]
The NLRB's general counsel, which is comparable to a prosecutor's office, is seeking emails and other documents from more than 50 McDonald's executives and employees who work directly with franchise owners.
"The General Counsel’s subpoena to McDonald’s is, we believe, one of the most burdensome in the history of the agency," the company's lawyers wrote.
Administrative subpoenas are warrants issued by bureaucrats. People might believe that papers and emails are protected by the Fourth Amendment. People might also believe that only a judge may issue a warrant after hearing “probable cause,” which is a reasonable, objective suspicion that some law has been broken.
Not so with administrative subpoenas, which are institutionalized violations of the Fourth Amendment, issued without probable cause and not authorized by a judge.
Even the infamous English warrants known as the Writs of Assistance, which were used against merchants in the American colonies before the Revolutionary War, could only be issued by judges.
John Marshall, as quoted by the Quincy Reports, said the Writs of Assistance were ”deemed contrary to the principles of liberty, and [were] thought an engine of suppression equally useless and vexatious, which . . . enable every petty officer of customs to gratify his resentments by harassing the most respectable men in the province.” Marshall was our famous fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
It seems that administrative subpoenas are now being used for “vexatious” and “harassing” purposes comparable to the dreaded Writs of Assistance.