New Newsworks Column: Teacher Unions v. David Boies; the Democratic Rift

Liberals and labor unions go together like wine and cheese. Thus, it was with an ironic flair that the newly-formed Partnership for Educational Justice, which seeks to reverse union-friendly teacher tenure laws, announced this week that its new Chair is David Boies, a nationally-known lawyer closely associated with liberal causes.

Boies, the son of two schoolteachers, is the star litigator who led the fight against California's Proposition 8 that denied marriage rights to same-sex couples. A dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, he also represented almost-president Al Gore during the tumultuous vote-counting scandal in Florida and prosecuted Microsoft on anti-trust charges during the Clinton Administration.

When asked why he was chairing the Partnership, Boies replied, "liberals always want equal opportunity." Left unsaid: not only for grown-ups, but also for children.

With this statement, Boies reframes the debate around teacher job security policies, particularly seniority-based lay-offs, or "LIFO" for "last in, first out. He also points to a growing rift within the Democratic Party.
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