by J.D. Davidson
An Ohio teacher who said she was required to join the teachers union will not be able to plead her case in the front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The court refused this week to hear Jade Thompson’s appeal of her lawsuit, which called for an immediate end to laws that force public-sector employees to accept a union’s exclusive representation.
The Buckeye Institute, a Columbus-based think tank, represented Thompson.
“Unfortunately, the Supreme Court passed on the opportunity to hear Mrs. Thompson’s case and resolve the conflict noted by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which stated Ohio’s ‘take-it-or-leave-it system’ of exclusive representation directly conflicts with the principals announced in Janus v. AFSCME,” said Robert Alt, The Buckeye Institute president and CEO.
Thompson’s case was filed in June 2018 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. It was appealed in February 2020, and appealed again to the U.S. Supreme Court in January.
Thompson, a Spanish teacher, said the Ohio Education Association targeted her husband with negative flyers during his race for the Ohio House of Representatives. She realized, she said, as a union member, she was funding the ads against her husband.
“I don’t speak for every teacher. I just think we ought to have a choice and it ought to be competitive, and for it not have to do with politics,” Thompson said. “Give a teacher a choice to vote.”
The Buckeye Institute was the first organization to file lawsuits asking courts to end forced exclusive representation after the Janus decision. It also represents Minnesota professor Kathy Uradnik in a similar case pending in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Despite today’s decision, the high court will have other opportunities to rule on the important question of forced union exclusive representation and recognize the First Amendment rights of public employees across the country,” Alt said.
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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. He is regional editor for The Center Square.