The Government Shutdown Faces Lawsuits Over ‘Involuntary Servitude’


The government shutdown is now the
longest on record and there’s no end in sight, Democrats won’t budge on providing more than 1.3 billion dollars for President Trump’s border wall. No
president should pound the table and demand he gets his way or else the
government shuts down. And President Trump won’t consider any proposal from
the Democrats without more wall funding. How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job? Stuck in the middle are thousands of government workers. Been with this government nine years. I think I’ve been through five of these. They’re not fun. I could see my desk from here. DC Can’t get on the same page. Why are we the collateral damage? This is our second time we haven’t got paid. So uh, you know. It really hurt. Thousands of so-called essential
personnel, like air traffic controllers and FBI agents, are working without
regular paychecks. But because most shutdowns and years past have only
lasted for a few days and because they haven’t been as frequent as they are now,
groups of federal employees are mounting legal challenges over working without
regular paychecks. One lawsuit accuses the government of violating the
Thirteenth Amendment. That’s the one that outlaws slavery and involuntary
servitude. In this case, the lawsuit claims that federal workers are being
forced into involuntary servitude by working without regular paychecks. Here’s the attorney behind the lawsuit explaining the case: You know, obviously, our plaintiffs are all federal employees, who were deemed essential who had to report
to work and we’re frustrated with the fact that they were required to work for
no pay at a time when they had financial obligations. I really think that it came
about just as, you know, kind of some of these things do. In conversation, just
bouncing ideas back and forth. And somebody saying, you know, this sounds
just like involuntary servitude. And we said well, you know what, that’s
exactly what it is. And we did the research and, you know, even though
there’s never been a case quite like this. It fits perfectly into the definition. And so we thought we’d bring it to the court and see what
happens. The U.S. is now in uncharted waters when it comes to legal challenges
against the shutdown. Because one has never lasted so long. The recent lawsuit
regarding the Thirteenth Amendment is a really novel challenge that we haven’t
seen before in other federal shutdowns. But now that we’re seeing a longer
period of a shutdown, more novel legal arguments are going to be made. And we’re going to be watching that really closely. And seeing if other arguments are going
to appear in the coming days or weeks. What could also eventually change future
shutdowns is going after a law drafted nearly 150 years ago. It’s called “The
Antideficiency Act.” At the time it was designed to reiterate Congress’s “power
of the purse.” You know, Congress authorizes and appropriates funds and
the executive branch spends and implements those funds. But The
Anti-deficiency Act really wasn’t thought of by Congress in its initial
format as an Employment Law or regulating employment policy. And with
shutdowns becoming more and more frequent. It actually is having a key
role in employment policy when it comes to the federal government. Over time the
law became the de facto employment policy that the federal government uses
to force workers to clock in without knowing when they’ll be paid next. Dickey
argues that the law as it’s practiced under current government shutdowns, contradicts another law called the “Fair Labor Standards Act.” The laws from the 1930’s and it requires the federal government to pay its workers a minimum wage. There are some real clashes between the Antideficiency Act and the Fair
Labor Standards Act when it comes to a shutdown situation. And we’re currently
seeing several class action lawsuits in the federal courts trying to work out
that clash. So as the government shutdown drags on
watch the courts. If any of these challenges succeed, the next shutdown
could play out much differently. But you never see a case in today’s world where people are being forced at the threat of losing their their property to work for free. It just it doesn’t happen in today’s world and it shouldn’t.

100 Replies to “The Government Shutdown Faces Lawsuits Over ‘Involuntary Servitude’

  1. Trump should used his own money's $$$$$$ to build the Walls . His want it's so bad.. Regular peoples his hurting from this shutdown..

  2. In my opinion, if the people win against trump in this case, he should compensate for all the time lost. Anyone have a thought on this?

  3. Started watching US-news just for entertainment. Policies in my country are so boring compare to that. No payment for workers because of governmental disput is so USA. It really became the jersey shore of global politics. Amazing!

  4. It is really frustrating, unfair and depressing what is happening with these federal workers. But legally equating it to slavery might be a bit of a stretch. They can quit. Slaves couldn't.

  5. So all the government workers you can't otherwise fire for not doing their job are now out protesting? I'm in awe. Great job, Trump, keep the government shut down another month or two. Should sort out all the undesired people.

  6. People keep saying that if you voted for Trump you deserve not getting paid. But if you DIDN'T VOTE you are also in that sinking ship!

  7. Democrat or republican everybody is wrong who support the stopping of all government functions because of something we don't really need. We haven't had a wall for the 200-plus years that we've bordered Mexico and Canada and we don't need one now, because the border is not the problem it's the drugs and crime that already exists and won't stop existing because a wall is there. /oh no there's a wall / /wherever shall I retrieve my crack/
    Because the forest service isn't clearing trees this winter, we're going to have more forest fires, because applications aren't being processed right now, people will be in a catch-22 where they legally paid to be here and they're following all the rules, but may be kicked out because their visas expire making them illegal aliens well they're trying to renew their benefits. Right now, people who work for the government are not being paid but still have to do their job because if they don't, vital functions will no longer happen. People should be honestly ashamed of themselves and also right now, the government is not paying its own bills to other countries which is dropping our credit score. If you've ever had your credit score drop one point you will know that it takes 10 billion years for it to go up half a point once you mess it up (that was a joke) this level of silliness is going to have a major repercussion come either next month when people are trying to file for their taxes, or the month after, it may take us years to recover from the recession or even depression that this level of silliness causes, because it's a spiral effect. People are afraid to spend their money, so they don't, then because they don't spend money, more jobs are lost and more people are afraid, and more people don't spend money, and the economy goes into this endless loop until something breaks it however, the only difference will be that because we have a low credit rating we may not be able to get the loans to pull us out of a spiral if something like this happens because no country will want to lend to us because they feel like they're not going to get paid back on time because they have bills to

  8. Trump- "How much more American blood must we shed before congress does its job?"
    This is literally, what most Americans have been saying with all the mass shootings the United States has had recently. SMH Mr. President.

  9. When the government is up and running again, will these people be paid for the days they’ve worked without pay?

  10. Google had a article today in this same conversation saying lam the the same thing about the slavery act but it also said that both parties could and should be impeached, I'm not saying this read the article !

  11. How is it involuntary the US government isn’t forcing the government employees not getting paid to work. These people are doing so on there own will this lawsuit is nonsense.

  12. First when do we follow the constitution, second you signed up knowing this could happen.

  13. CNBC…no one is forcing anyone. Quit misleading people with your propaganda. With 21 trillion debt and all this whining and hand ringing proves the federal gov. needs a major haircut. Live by big gov…. die by big gov. The bigger the fed. gov….the smaller the citizen.

  14. Why do the people have to suffer for politics they should cut their own income and stop forcing people to work for free.

  15. I can't take these people serious like think about it how will the wall help their just gonna go over it. this country was made from immigrants none of us are natives.

  16. You know the saying “You get what you pay for?” Well you get who you voted for. Too many of you were jumping on the bandwagon shouting loud and clear “LETS MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” You voted for Mr Trump now how great is AMERICA when federal governments can’t pay their bills and feed their families due to Mr LETS MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. So all of you who voted for him I hope you have a heart and help those federal governments who are one foot away from being homeless.

  17. One of the biggest issue that government employees have about this is that even though they don't get paid, the members of congress-who are the ones keeping the government shut down- get their full pay on time. If they were also made to work for free, we'd see that these government shutdowns would not happen nearly as frequently or as long. (Mind you that is a showcase of corruption). What we- as all Americans being affected by this shutdown- should all petition for is equality. The people don't get paid? Neither should members of congress.

  18. What’s next debtors prison for not paying your debts. Oops we still do that even that it is highly illegal. When will people learn government is only there to sponge your check.
    You all kinda volunteered to give up your cash.

  19. It’s sad that the Democrats are not listening to the people of America , surly it’s not trumps wall, it’s the people’s wall and there are sadly good reasons for it. Every country has boarder security. I would like to understand why the Democrats are refusing to provide the funds, what’s there logic? I suggested that if those that are against the wall step in and take what’s there down, that boarder security is dismissed and allow everyone to walk in and out of America free. Let’s see what happens than. Stop spending tax payers money on trying to find stories against your president and work in collaboration to make America great again. The Democrats should give there wages to the people and put there money were there mouth is , given they appear very concerned about the people’s loss of earnings.

  20. Trump shut down the government to halt court cases in FEDERAL COURTS. HE IS A COWARD HIDING BEHIND THE SHUT DOWN. Not about a wall or immigrants. Self serving interests. Look up Emoluments. No joke!

  21. 0:51, GET AN ACTUAL JOB! A seat in office is and should only every be, side work. Meaning You have a job elsewhere you work at more than being in office.

  22. this is america the best democracy in the world , leader of the free world , provider of 'the american dream' , the country hat keeps talking about freedom and choice …………… where the powerful fight on insignificant issues and the weak suffer as collateral but hey what does it matter as long as they are just a no. and no people

  23. Get rid of trump and the problem will go away. He is the one that started the fight to begin with. He's using Americans as his own weapons to shield him. He doesn't care about the people. He only cares about bragging what he can do. We need to get rid of him now! End it now! Get him out and get someone in that has a heart and cares about the people

  24. Not gonna lie YOU SIGNED UP TO THE GOVERNMENT wtf do you think was gonna happen.

    PS .sorry but not sorry if you work for the government you deserve this.

  25. What I want to know is, if all the government workers stop getting paid, WHY ARE THE PEOPLE IN THE WHITE HOUSE THAT ARE DOING THIS STILL GETTING PAID.

  26. Dony feel sorry for anyone. Time to go get a regular as job like the rest of America. If they are truly shut down They they need to not take any money from my checks till they start working again.

  27. Why did ya'll voted for trump anyway? "It's for the wall!" Lol…nice joke, now you're complaining bc you dont have money…

  28. The government also needs to learn they work the people not the other way around. Go get ur 7 dollars an hour nd stfu

  29. This is where you find out that they donot observe Constitution, or Common Law. But Admiralty Law or Corporate Law. They are in violation of the 13th? Amendment but what judge is going to sentence them ??? Except the Judge in Heaven

  30. If you read the plans brought up by Trump to unshut down the government people would say it's reasonable. If you tell them it's by Trump then all of a sudden they would say it's bad and racist. Honestly it's to the point where instead of sucking up the term and preparing for 2020 the other party acts worse than actual children.

  31. This is gonna get much worse before it EVENTUALLY gets any better. Ppl of a nation need to unite, but instead they are fighting each other. Wake up America!! I’ve lived on your soil and you’ve got such great potential. It is ALWAYS taken out on ppls backs. The guys up there aren’t the ones who are suffering ! It’s you and me. The “ordinary kind”, being capable of EXTRAORDINARY!

  32. The worst news? It’s illegal for essential workers to strike, and for them to make partisan comments. They’re at the mercy of their own government.

  33. border fencing is v important and no one can deny it….to entery country legaly is v fine slogan and no one can argue but shuting down the goverment office for that is stupidy at its peak….i guess this is another way of taking vacation for the feds..i hope trump salary is also cutt off and all the ecnomic damage should be taken from trump tower income

  34. I am so sick of hearing about these cry baby federal employees. Being a former federal employee I can say this. As a federal employee you accept that at any point you can be furloughed. It’s a condition of employment. And anyone that questions that go to the OPM.gov website and check it out. Not to mention federal employees have better benefits than almost any industry other than teachers.

    Why didn’t congress say you know what we’ll give up our pay for the employees. Hell Pelosi tried to board a private plane on the taxpayer dime during the shutdown. Her husband is worth $100,000,000. More than half those Congress members are millionaires a few times over.

    And on January 19 Trump proposed $800 million for humanitarian aide, $850 million for updated technology at the border, visa’s for DACA, more Border Patrol Staff as well as more judges to stem the backlog of Visa applications as well as a couple other items and Pelosi DENIED IT.

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