Public Sector Unions Challenged at Supreme Court Level
Public Sector Unions, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, Mark Janus, Neil Gorsuch, Antonin Scalia
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Mark Janus, who happens to be an Illinois state worker, recently brought a suit against the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees over its ability, enforced by the state, to collect member dues from Janus, whether he wanted to belong to that union or not.
His suit is a challenge to the power of public-sector unions to force membership and the accompanying member dues on government employees. The case became known as Janus v American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council.
His lawsuit was enjoined by other parties, other state employees from different states, suing different public-sector unions. The cases have been consolidated into one case and presented before the Supreme Court, which, yesterday, Thursday, September 28th, 2017, agreed to hear the case.
Newly appointed Supreme Court Justice, Neil Gorsuch, did not contribute to the decision to take the case by the Supreme Court.
Janus’ argument is that the state coercing him to join a union and pay dues to that union violates his First Amendment right. He argues that, since public sector unions use their dues monies to help pay for political contributions to candidates and parties, the state is violating his first amendment right by making him support political action which goes against his beliefs.
Janus, and others involved in this case, as well as the ones joined with his, want to overthrow the Supreme Court ruling in 1977, in Abood v Detroit Board of Education. In that case, SCOTUS ruled that mandatory public sector union fees were not a violation of the Constitution because the fees are simply your contribution to pay your fair share for collective bargaining that benefits you.
An attempt was made to overthrow that ruling in 2016, with Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, but that ruling came down to a 4-4 tie as it happened just after the death of Supreme Justice, Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch, it is assumed, would be the deciding vote in this decision.
Team Janus told the press, before this ruling was announced, that, “the Court should take this case to overrule Abood and declare [mandatory public-sector union] fees unconstitutional.”
It is telling that the argument made here is not against the mandatory joining of public sector unions if you want to work a government job, nor is against the very practice of coercing payment to these unions, regardless of whether the monies raised go to pay for political campaigns or not.
The notion that the government mandates that anyone who works for the government be part of a protected organization, a de facto state institution, should be anathema to anyone, even within the nation-state paradigm, who imagines that the government is of the people, by the people, and for the people.
In this case, the government is of the government employees, by the government employees, and for the government employees, and they have a powerful state institution, public sector unions, to assure that those who pay for the salaries and benefits of the government employees will have to pay more for these salaries and benefits and have little, if any, say in whether the arrangements made between the state (the government) and the state (the public sector unions) is one they would approve.
Regardless, here’s hoping SCOTUS does us all the favor of extending the length of our leash just a tad by striking down the power of the state to coerce the employees of the state to fund a state institution, the public sector union, to lobby the state to pay the employees more money, and grant them more benefits, all of which increases the rate at which the state will be “forced” to raid the coffers of the ‘citizens’ to pay for the ever-increasing salaries and benefits of the people who make the state possible in the first place, the government employees.
Here is the ruling:
DALMAZZI, NICOLE A. V. UNITED STATES
COX, LAITH G. V. UNITED STATES
ORTIZ, KEANU D. V. UNITED STATES
The petitions for writs of certiorari are granted. The cases are consolidated, and a total of one hour is allotted for oral argument. In addition to the questions presented by the petitions, the parties are directed to brief and argue the following question: Whether this Court has jurisdiction to review the cases in Nos. 16-961 and 16-1017 under 28 U. S. C. § 12 59(3).
COLLINS, RYAN A. V. VIRGINIA
HALL, ELSA V. HALL, SAMUEL, ET AL.
ENCINO MOTORCARS, LLC V. NAVARRO, HECTOR, ET AL.
BYRD, TERRENCE V. UNITED STATES
JANUS, MARK V. AMERICAN FEDERATION, ET AL.
The petitions for writs of certiorari are granted.
HAYS, KS V. VOGT, MATTHEW JACK D.
The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. Justice Gorsuch took no part in the consideration or decision of this petition.
McCOY, ROBERT L. V. LOUISIANA
The motion of petitioner for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis and the petition for a writ of certiorari are granted