The National Law Journal sets the scene:
The case of the frozen trucker sounds like a Conan Doyle mystery but it has become a focal point in Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings, to the surprise of the lawyers who faced off before the judge—and to the frustration of one of them...
The case is Transam Trucking v. Administrative Review Board, which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit—Gorsuch’s home for the past decade—ruled on last year. The 2-1 panel, with Gorsuch in dissent, ruled for truck driver Alphonse Maddin...
The backstory, in brief: Maddin, driving through Illinois, had waited more than three hours in freezing temperatures in an unheated truck for assistance. The brakes had frozen on his trailer. He was fired after disconnecting the trailer and driving off because his feet and legs were going numb. His employer had instructed him to stay with the truck until a repair team arrived or to drive the truck while pulling the trailer with the failed brakes.
In his dissent, Gorsuch said the law only forbids firing an employee who refuses to operate a vehicle out of safety concerns. “The trucker in this case wasn’t fired for refusing to operate his vehicle,” Gorsuch wrote. "The trucker was fired only after he declined the statutorily protected option (refuse to operate) and chose instead to operate his vehicle in a manner he thought wise but his employer did not.”I asked Dr. Walter Block for his take. Below is his response:
Unless there is a contract in force to the contrary, I think any employer may fire any employee for good, bad, or indifferent reasons. I fully believe in the law of free assocation. In this case, I think the firing was for a bad reason, but, that’s the employer’s choice, and I support the employer. I also think that any employee may quit any job, for good or bad reasons, again, providing there is no contract in force to the contrary. (I support specific performance contracts –voluntary slavery.) See on this:
Andersson, 2007; Block, 1969, 1979, 1988, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007A, 2007B, 2009A, 2009B; Boldrin and Levine, 2008; Frederick, 2014; Kershnar, 2003; Lester, 2000; Mosquito, 2014; Nozick, 1974, pp. 58, 283, 331; Steiner, 1994, pp. 232; Thomson, 1990, pp. 283-84.
In the view of Boldrin and Levine, 2008, p. 254: "Take the case of slavery. Why should people not be allowed to sign private contracts binding them to slavery? In fact economists have consistently argued against slavery – during the 19th century David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill engaged in a heated public debate with literary luminaries such as Charles Dickens, with the economists opposing slavery, and the literary giants arguing in favor."
Andersson, Anna-Karin. 2007. “An alleged contradiction in Nozick’s entitlement theory.”Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 21, No. 3, Fall: 43–63; http://mises.org/journals/jls/
21_3/21_3_3.pdfBlock, Walter. 1969. “Voluntary Slavery.” The Libertarian Connection, Vol. I, No. 3,, pp. 9-11.Block, Walter E. 1979. Book review of Nancy C. Baker, Baby Selling: the Scandal of Black Market Adoptions, New York: The Vanguard Press, 1978; in Libertarian Review, January, Vol. 7, No. 12, pp. 44-45.Block, Walter E. 1988. “Rent-a-womb market,” Thunder Bay Ontario Daily;.Block, Walter E. 1999. “Market Inalienability Once Again: Reply to Radin,” Thomas Jefferson Law Journal, Vol. 22, No. 1, Fall, pp. 37-88; http://www.walterblock.com/ publications/market_ inalienability.pdfBlock, Walter E. 2001. "Alienability, Inalienability, Paternalism and the Law: Reply to Kronman," American Journal of Criminal Law, Vol. 28, No. 3, Summer, pp. 351-371; http://www.walterblock.com/ publications/reply_to_kronman.Block, Walter E. 2002. “A Libertarian Theory of Secession and Slavery,” http://www.lewrockwell.com/; block/block15.html; http://libertariantruth. wordpress.com/2006/12/08/a- libertarian-theory-of- secession-and-slavery/Block, Walter E. 2003. “Toward a Libertarian Theory of Inalienability: A Critique of Rothbard, Barnett, Gordon, Smith, Kinsella and Epstein,” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol.17, No. 2, Spring, pp. 39-85; http://www.mises.org/journals/ jls/17_2/17_2_3.pdfBlock, Walter E. 2004. “Are Alienability and the Apriori of Argument Logically Incompatible?” Dialogue, Vol. 1, No. 1. http://www.uni-svishtov.bg/ dialog/2004/256gord6.pdfBlock, Walter E. 2005. “Ayn Rand and Austrian Economics: Two Peas in a Pod.” The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies. Vol. 6, No. 2, Spring, pp. 259-269Block, Walter E. 2006. “Epstein on alienation: a rejoinder” International Journal of Social Economics; Vol. 33, Nos. 3-4, pp. 241-260Block, Walter E. 2007A. “Secession,” Dialogue. No. 4; pp. 1-14; http://www.uni-svishtov.bg/ dialog/2007/4.07.WB.pdf
Block, Walter E. 2007B. "Alienability: Reply to Kuflik.” Humanomics Vol. 23, No. 3, pp. 117-136; http://www.emeraldinsight.com/
Insight/viewContentItem.do; jsessionid= 0685BBB744173274A5E7CE38031324 13?contentType=Article& contentId=1626605Block, Walter E. 2009A. “Yes, Sell Rivers! And Make Legal Some Slave Contracts” The Tyee. http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/; 2009/07/24/SellRivers/Block, Walter E. 2009B. “Privatizing Rivers and Voluntary Slave Contracts”;Boldrin, Michele and David K. Levine. 2008. Against Intellectual Monopoly. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; http://www.dklevine.com/ general/intellectual/against. htmFrederick, Danny. 2014. “Voluntary Slavery,” Las Torres de Lucca 4: 115-37, http://www.lastorresdelucca. org/index.php?option=com_k2& view=item&id=145:laesclavitud-voluntaria&Itemid=24&lang=enKershnar, Stephen. 2003. “A Liberal Argument for Slavery,” Journal of Social Philosophy, 34(4): 510-36Lester, Jan Clifford. 2000. Escape from Leviathan. St. Martin’s Press. http://www.amazon.com/exec/ obidos/ASIN/0312234163/qid% 3D989845939/107-8070279- 6411737Mosquito, Bionic. 2014. “The Sanctity of Contract.”;Nozick, Robert. 1974. Anarchy, State and Utopia, New York: Basic Books, http://www.amazon.com/Anarchy- State-Utopia-Robert-Nozick/dp/ 0465097200Steiner, Hillel. 1994. An Essay on Rights, Oxford: Blackwell PublishersThomson, Judith Jarvis. 1990. The Realm of Rights, Cambridge, MA, Harvard UniversityPress