JC Bowman Commentary: Supreme Court Case Janus v. AFSCME

The oral argument date in Janus v. AFSCME has been set for Monday, February 26, 2018. You can find the link here

The decision will likely be issued before the Court adjourns at the end of its term in June. It will likely keep the national teacher unions from supplementing other states with forced dues from compulsory union states.   Many unions have reached the conclusion that if the U.S. Supreme Court rules against agency fees in the Janus case they will lose members. “Those who think the loss of agency fees means the end of public sector union power are sadly mistaken. But it is also a letdown for those who thought the unions’ post-Janus focus would be on making membership relevant to a new generation of teachers. Instead, the unions elected to simply change the locks on the cell doors” stated writer Mike Antonucci.

Jacob Huebert, director of litigation at the Liberty Justice Center, issued the following statement: “We are pleased the Supreme Court has agreed to take up this case and revisit a 40-year-old precedent that has allowed governments to violate the First Amendment rights of millions of workers. People shouldn’t be forced to surrender their First Amendment right to decide for themselves what organizations they support just because they decide to work for the state, their local government or a public school.

Matthew Brouillette is president and CEO of Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs pointed out in a recent editorial that Taxpayer resources — not only at the state level but at school district levels — are regularly used to collect campaign contributions and funnel them to a select group of organizations that, not coincidentally, are among the largest bankrollers of political campaigns in the state. He added “And it’s no secret. The public has known it for years.”

Brouillette also pointed out that “ending the use of public resources for unions’ political fundraising would in no way prevent public employees from engaging in politics or limit their ability to do so. They would just have to do so like everyone else, without taxpayer participation. Yet government union leaders have misrepresented these facts in their frantic quest to ensure they can continue using public resources for political purposes.”

The Janus case National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix issued the following statement: “With the Supreme Court agreeing to hear the Janus case, we are now one step closer to freeing over 5 million public sector teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other employees from the injustice of being forced to subsidize a union as a condition of working for their own government. “As the Court noted in the National Right to Work Foundation’s landmark Knox v. SEIU victory, compelled speech under the guise of forced union dues is an ‘anomaly’ under the First Amendment. We are hopeful that by the end of this Supreme Court term, the High Court will finally end this anomaly and fully protect the First Amendment rights of public sector workers against an injustice that has existed for over half a century.” More information, including legal briefs in the case, can be found here.

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JC Bowman is the Executive Director of Professional Educators of Tennessee. Professional Educators of Tennessee is a non-partisan teacher association headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Professional Educators of Tennessee does not contribute to political candidates or parties.  Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author and the association are properly cited.

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One Thought to “JC Bowman Commentary: Supreme Court Case Janus v. AFSCME”

  1. Eric

    My wife is a teacher in Tennessee and ditched the teachers unions. More teachers should do the same.