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US Supreme Court will hear public sector dues case

30 September 2017

The case, being brought on behalf of IL child support specialist Mark Janus, could affect unions in 22 states where those "fair share" fees are now mandated for all public employees; labor experts think many would stop paying if they weren't forced to. American Federation, a case that could permanently hobble public-sector unions in the United States.

In the 1970s, the Supreme Court in a case called Abood said opponents of unions don't have to pay the purely political part of union dues, but do have to continue paying the "fair share" portion. The high court deadlocked on the issue a year ago, but now there's a conservative majority among the justices.

The Supreme Court has three times in the past four years considered whether members of public employee unions must pay dues.

Scalia died in February 2016, just a month after the justices heard a similar case from California. But to those who view unions as eternally pesky enemies of job creators, and public-sector unions as self-serving champions of socialism, the end justifies the means. Since then, a handful of competing cases across the country, including Hartnett's, have been making their way through the appellate system toward the Supreme Court, which now includes President Trump's nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch.

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That case, Friedrichs v. California Teacher's Association, was over the approximately $650 each teacher in California has to pay the union, despite the fact the union's political statements and bargaining activities may be in direct violation of any individual teacher's speech rights. During these elections where the 2011 legislative redistricting maps were in place, Democratic candidates substantially won the popular vote for state Assembly, alongside victories in two major statewide elections, but still only won 39 out of 99 Assembly seats. "The unions have just been waiting for the other shoe to fall". "But I don't look at it that way". He lauded American values such as free speech and civil rights. The same constitutional analysis would seem to apply to both public and private sector unions whenever the government forces anti-union employees to pay union fees.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, a Democrat, and some state unions moved in to counter the lawsuit. The governor was dismissed from the suit for lack of standing, and the other plaintiffs fell by the wayside because of other issues.

On Thursday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would hear Janus' case.

Although the confirmation process for Supreme Court justices is extremely political, the court's members are required to follow a code of conduct that prohibits them from expressing their political preferences. They are deals between employers and unions which set rules on the extent to which a union may compel an employee to join and whether the employer will collect fees on the union's behalf. "There's no exception to the First Amendment". "Janus v. AFSCME presents an opportunity to restore fairness and First Amendment rights to millions of American workers by giving them the right to choose whether to support a union with their money".

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"You can't take any justice's vote for granted".

"This case is an especially poor vehicle to reconsider Abood's holding because it has no factual record", Madigan's brief said.

"When government unions can finance politicians ... they in turn negotiate with ... it's a fundamental conflict of interest", Rauner said Thursday. In this case, the Court will ponder the subject of redrawing political districts to benefit candidates from a political party.

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US Supreme Court will hear public sector dues case