Janus v. AFSCME: A Case to Protect Public Employees’ First Amendment Rights
With their billion dollar forced dues machine, Big Labor has managed to hold an iron-fist over public sector employees and forced them to pay tribute to a union boss just to get or keep a job.
That grip may soon come to an end with one Foundation case seeking to end forced dues or fees for all public sector workers, Janus v. AFSCME, poised to be heard by the Supreme Court.
About the Case
On February 9, 2015, relying on the Supreme Court’s decision in Harris v. Quinn (more information below), newly elected Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner issued an executive order prohibiting state agencies from enforcing state bargaining agreement provisions requiring nonmember state employees to pay union fees and directing that any fees deducted be placed in escrow pending the resolution of litigation over the constitutionality of the forced fee provisions. On the same day Governor Rauner sued in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against the unions collecting forced fees from state employees for a declaratory judgment that the forced fee provisions violate the First Amendment and that his executive order is valid.
On March 23, 2015, Foundation staff attorneys filed a motion, eventually granted by the court, to intervene as plaintiffs for Mark Janus and two other Illinois state employees who are compelled to pay union fees as a condition of their jobs. Their accompanying complaint requested not only a declaratory judgment, but also an injunction against and damages from the unions to which they are compelled to pay fees.
Although the court eventually ruled that Governor Rauner did not have standing necessary to file his lawsuit, the challenge continues on behalf of the three employees. On July 2, 2015, the Attorney General moved to stay the case pending the Supreme Court’s decision in Friedrichswhich the court granted on July 8, 2015. After deadlock in Friedrichs left in place union bosses forced dues powers for the time being a District Court judge dismissed the case citing Friedrichs.
The Foundation along with the Liberty Justice Center, filed an appeal to the Seventh Court of Appeals in October 2016. Hearings were held on March 1st 2017. On March 21, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the Illinois district court which ruled that the Abood v. Detroit Board of Education precedent applied to Janus v. AFSCME. The decision by the Seventh Circuit, which was expected, allows Foundation staff attorneys to next file a writ of certiorari to ask the United States Supreme Court to take the case.
About Mark Janus
Mark Janus works at the Illinois Department of Healthcare Services as a child support specialist. To read an op-ed that Mark wrote in the Chicago Tribune please click here.
He is forced to pay union dues or fees for the privilege of working for his own state government.
Illinois state employee asks U.S. Supreme Court to hear First Amendment challenge to mandatory union fees
National Right to Work Foundation Staff Attorney Argues Case Before 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Challenging Forced Union Dues
Foundation Cases Poised to Challenge Forced Dues at Supreme Court
Illinois Civil Servants File Appeal in Case to Overturn Union Boss Forced Dues Powers
State Employees Move to Defend Rauner’s Federal Challenge to Government Union Bosses’ Forced Dues Powers
Selected Media Coverage
Mark Janus Op-ed (Chicago Tribune)
Supreme Court asked to take up fight over mandatory union fees (Washington Examiner)
Minnesota unions prepare for potential Supreme Court right-to-work decision (Watchdog.org)
All eyes on Illinois case that could change U.S. labor law (Illinois News Network)
A Supreme Court Absence is Felt (Wall Street Journal Editorial)
Trump justice nominee means Illinois’ fair share case could lead to national right-to-work law(Illinois News Network)
Seventh Circuit hears arguments over IL ‘fair share’ union fees; case may be headed to SCOTUS (Cook County Record)
The ‘next Friedrichs’ of right-to-work has its day in appeals court (Watchdog.org)
New Legal Challenges To Public Union Agency Fees (Law360)
The Supreme Court Need Not “Ignore Pleading Rules” to Decide the Constitutionality of Forced Union Dues Imposed on Public Employees (Federalist Society)
Janus in the Court – Podcast Featuring lead attorney Bill Messenger (Federalist Society)
Petition for Writ of Certiorari with United States Supreme Court No. 16-1466
Reply to Briefs in Opposition
Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Decision
Plaintiff brief for Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
Audio transcript of oral arguments before Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
Plaintiff brief for Illinois District Court
Initial brief filed by Illinois Governor Rauner in Illinois District Court
Brief of respondents Lisa Madigan and Michael Hoffman
Brief of respondent AFSCME
Amicus Briefs in Support of Petitioner
Rebecca Friedrichs Amicus Brief
Atlantic Legal Foundation Amicus Brief
Buckeye Institute and National for Public Policy Solutions Amicus Brief
Mackinac Center for Public Policy Amicus Brief
Michigan and 18 Other States Amicus Brief
Cato Institute and National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Center Amicus Brief
Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence Amicus Brief
Deborah Nearman Amicus Brief
Competitive Enterprise Institute Amicus Brief
Pacific Legal Foundation, Linda Chavez, Goldwater Institute,The Fairness Center, Gregory J. Hartnett, Elizabeth M. Galaska, Robert G. Brough, Jr., John M. Cress, Pioneer Institute, Inc., and Empire Center for Public Policy, Inc. Amicus Brief