One of the longstanding fights conservatives have had with the progressive machine is over the issue of forced unionization. Progressives believe it is completely legal to make a person join an organization, like, for instance, the NRA, in order to work. (I was just joking about the NRA, they want to make it mandatory to join labor unions that act as an adjunct of the Democrat party.)
While we’ve been successful at chipping away at the infamous closed shop laws, a lot of work remains to be done.
This picture is likely to change dramatically this term in the Supreme Court. The Court is scheduled to hear a case called Janus v. AFSCME. And it will probably break the back of unions as a partisan political force in this country. This is the background:
Mark Janus is a child support specialist employed by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. He has declined membership in the union, as is his constitutional right, but under the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act he’s still is required to pay the union an “agency fee” as a condition of keeping his job. That fee is supposed to cover his share of the union’s expenses outside of politics – 84 percent of the full member dues last year (by the union’s calculation).
His argument is that all public union spending is so entwined with politics that he should not be compelled to subsidize any of it.
Writing this commentary piece in the Chicago Tribune, Janus said, “To keep my job at the state, I have to pay monthly fees to the AFSCME, a public union that claims to ‘represent’ me. The union is not my voice. The union’s fight is not my fight.”
Janus believes that this compulsory arrangement violates his rights under the First Amendment. He is being forced to subsidize speech of others – AFSCME officials – and the First Amendment protects against the government making us speak just as much as it protects against the government censoring our speech.
In a complicated case that began with Illinois governor Bruce Rauner suing the union (details available here), the federal court that first heard the case as well as the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Janus. They did so because a 40 year-old Supreme Court precedent, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, dictates that result.
This case nearly wasn’t necessary. Right before Justice Antonin Scalia died (note to self, send Alito, Gorsuch, and Thomas copies of the P90X workout and organize a GoFundMe to hire them a personal trainer), the court was poised to hear a similar case called Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. Scalia’s death resulted in a 4-4 tie that kept mandatory union dues in place.
Now with Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, it is widely anticipated that Janus will be a 5-4 defeat for forced unionization. The Democrats are not happy:
“Here is the majority of the Court prepared to fight for exploitation on behalf of the 1 percent of Americans at the very top,” Merkley said.
But Merkley broke from his discussion of the case to question the legitimacy of Gorsuch’s placement on the Supreme Court.
“Now, should we put an asterisk by Neil Gorsuch’s name. Should even a 5-4 decision with Gorsuch in the majority even carry weight here in our society?” Merkley asked.
“Because this is the seat that for the first time in U.S. History was stolen from one president and delivered to another,” Merkley said, raising his voice.
“The majority of this body right here stole the seat, undermining the integrity, dishonoring the oath, responsibility for advice and consent, and damaging the legitimacy of the Supreme Court,” Merkley said.
Merkley argued Gorsuch was placed on the Court “to enable the 1 percent to rip off ordinary working Americans.”
“Now we know who is behind this strategy. It’s the Koch brothers through their organizations,” Merkley said.
And then Merkley defecated in his hand, hurled feces about the Senate, dropped his trousers and furiously masturbated chanting “Koch, Koch, Koch.”
This is bizarre behavior. Even by the standard of Democrat senators. It also shows they are fearful. More likely than not, Trump will get one or two more Supreme Court nominations in his first term. His nominees to appeals courts are potential rock stars who will shape American jurisprudence for the next thirty years. And when these people get scared, they provide limitless entertainment.