The Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling declares that unions can’t force people who don’t wish to be in the union to pay dues. That was the only reason public employee unions were thriving.
The court ruled it would be a violation of the first amendment to force people to join a group that has entirely different political viewpoint than their own and have their money forcibly taken from them and given to the Democratic Party. This hurts the Democrats because the unions will have much less money and therefore less to give liberals for their campaigns.
While the current case applies only to public-sector employees, the political and financial stakes are potentially huge for the broader American labor union movement, which had been sounding the alarm about the legal fight.
The unions say 5 million government employees in 24 states and the District of Columbia would be affected by this ruling.
At issue in the high-stakes case was whether states can compel government workers — whether they are in a union or not — to pay fees to support union activities. The case centered on the complaints of an Illinois state employee who sued, saying he was being asked to support the union’s political message.
Justices split 4-4 on the issue in a similar case two years ago. But with Neil Gorsuch now filling the vacancy left by the late Antonin Scalia, he was seen as the deciding vote this time – and sided with the conservative majority in Wednesday’s opinion.
But while his colleagues were closely divided in arguments back in February, Gorsuch played it close to the vest and left court watchers guessing for comments. He had no comments or questions from the bench during nearly 70 minutes of oral arguments.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, often a swing justice in other cases, cast a skeptical eye toward the union argument in February He said repeatedly that separating politics from the union’s collective bargaining mission was impossible.
“We’re talking here about compelled justification and compelled subsidization of a private party that expresses political views constantly,” Kennedy said. He told the union’s lawyer, “It seems to me your argument doesn’t have much weight.”
The plaintiff in the case, Mark Janus, has worked for years as an Illinois state employee and pays about $550 annually to the powerful public-sector union known as AFSCME.
While not a member of the union, he is required under state law to hand over a weekly portion of his paycheck, which he says is a violation of his constitutional rights.
“The fundamental issue is my right to choice,” Janus said outside the court in February.
Labor leaders oppose so-called “free riding” by workers like Janus, however, and say they have a legal duty to advocate for all employees.
The high court was asked to overturn its four-decade-old ruling allowing so-called “fair share” fees for public employees.
The unions fought against the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the court because he takes the constitution literally and not as means to further their political agenda. Like the justices in the Roe v Wade decision. The liberal judges could not find anything in the constitution so they spoke nonsense about emanations and penumbras.