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*** UPDATED x1 *** Rauner slammed from the right over Janus case

Monday, Feb 19, 2018

[Reader comments are now open on this post.]

* The Liberty Justice Center is, of course, closely affiliated with the Illinois Policy Institute. The Center’s President is Patrick Hughes, who works closely with Dan Proft at the Illinois Opportunity Project. The Institute is run by John Tillman. All those folks have been openly warring with Gov. Bruce Rauner and Proft is backing Jeanne Ives’s campaign against Rauner.

Even so, they do make some interesting points here…

Liberty Justice Center president issues letter to Illinois Gov. Rauner regarding Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court case

CHICAGO (Feb. 19, 2018) – The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the landmark labor case Janus v. AFSCME on Feb. 26. This is the most important case for workers’ rights in a generation. It seeks to end the decades-old practice of requiring government workers to pay money to a union as a condition of employment. The case has implications for government workers in Illinois, as well as in 21 other states.

Liberty Justice Center President Patrick Hughes has sent the following letter to Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner regarding his public comments about the case:

Dear Gov. Rauner:

As you know, the Liberty Justice Center is representing an Illinois state worker in the Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME. I am writing to request that you immediately stop misrepresenting the case and your role in it in public appearances and in the media.

This is the most important case for workers’ rights in a generation. It seeks to end the decades-old practice of requiring government workers to pay money to a union as a condition of employment. This requirement is coercive and un-American, yet it has been in place for decades.

In Illinois and 21 other states, working in public service means paying money to a government union. More than 5 million government workers have no choice and no voice in the matter. But all of this could change if the Liberty Justice Center and our co-counsel from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation are successful.

The stakes in this case are high, and that is why the manner in which you are discussing the case is so concerning.

You have made the Janus case a centerpiece of your re-election campaign. In numerous interviews, you are falsely claiming involvement in the case and making predictions about its success – even though the justices of the Supreme Court have yet to hear oral arguments. You appear to have an immense misunderstanding of what’s really at stake in this case and what the implications would be. But perhaps most importantly, by touting this case in campaign-related events and interviews, you have recklessly politicized what’s at issue in Janus.

Understand that Janus is not about right versus left, Democrats versus Republicans, or union jobs being better or worse than non-union jobs. Janus is about restoring government workers’ right to decide for themselves whether to support a union at their workplace. And it is about more than Illinois. It is deeply personal to millions of American workers in almost two dozen states.

Here are examples of public comments that have been problematic.

In a recent campaign appearance before the Chicago Tribune editorial board, you said: “It’s in the courts, and we’re gonna win … we have a very high probability of winning the AFSCME lawsuit. From all indications, I believe it’s very likely.”

This isn’t the first time you have spoken about the case in this manner. In an interview with the Hoover Institution in 2017, you stated: “We’re in Federal Court. We are heading with that lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court this September. Nothing to do with any of the budget. Nothing to do with any of the reform agenda in the legislature. We are going to be in front of the Supreme Court, and there is more than a 90% odds that we win that case.”

The problem: You are not a party in the case or participating in it in any way. Liberty Justice Center, as a 501(c)(3) organization, cannot and does not get involved in campaigns. Falsely claiming involvement in our activities, and linking the case to your reelection, could lead to false assumptions that our organization is involved in your reelection, which it is not.

The plaintiff in this case has been represented throughout the litigation by my organization, the Liberty Justice Center, and our partners at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. The federal district court dismissed you from the case in 2015, and since then you have played no role in it.

Ironically, there was an official role for you to play in the lawsuit. Elected officials from Michigan, Alabama, Indiana, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and other states all submitted amicus briefs in support of the lawsuit. You could have filed an amicus brief or joined theirs, but you did not.

Unfortunately, Janus is not the only critically important case in which you are misrepresenting your role. You also have falsely claimed to be involved in our case defending the Village of Lincolnshire’s right-to-work ordinance. Speaking of that case in your Hoover Institution interview, you said, “I’m advocating with them and helping them with that. We are now in Federal Court. We’re heading to the Supreme Court in 2018.”

But you have never had anything to do with that case, either. When the Village of Lincolnshire enacted its ordinance and unions sued to challenge it, the Liberty Justice Center stepped forward to defend the village free of charge. Neither you nor anyone in your office has ever assisted us in the case.

Claiming involvement in a case and then speaking unsolicited on behalf of those actually charged with winning the case is irresponsible and grossly misleading. It’s also inappropriate to make predictions about a case’s likelihood of success.

The real hero in the Janus case is Mark Janus, who has been willing to take his case to the highest court in the land, face public scrutiny and put his livelihood on the line.

Yes, you initiated the Janus case by issuing an executive order in 2015. But that’s where your involvement ended. Saying otherwise and implying continued involvement is dishonest and harmful to the work of those trying to bring more worker freedom to Illinois and the country.


Patrick Hughes
President, Liberty Justice Center

Emphasis added for obvious reasons.

The Circular Firing Squad is operating at full roar these days, campers. I’ll open comments tomorrow.

*** UPDATE *** From a June 6, 2017 Illinois Policy Institute press release…

The case now called Janus v. AFSCME began on February 9, 2015. Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner issued an executive order prohibiting state agencies from requiring nonmember state employees to pay union fees, and directed that instead any such fees deducted be put in escrow pending the resolution of litigation.

On the same day, Rauner filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against the collection of forced fees from state employees, asking for a declaratory judgment that the forced fee provisions violate the First Amendment and that his executive order was valid.

On March 23, 2015, staff attorneys from the Liberty Justice Center and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation filed a motion for Mark Janus to intervene in the case. Janus’s complaint requested not only a declaratory judgment but also an injunction and damages from the unions for the compelled fees.

Although the court then ruled that Rauner did not have standing necessary to pursue his lawsuit, the challenge continued because the judge granted Janus’ motion to intervene. The case was renamed Janus v. AFSCME. On July 2, 2015, the Illinois Attorney General asked the district court to stay the case pending the Supreme Court’s decision in a case with similar constitutional issues at stake, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. The district court granted a stay on July 8, 2015.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 8:03 am:

    For me, the Rauner involvement is overblown, Rauner has never been a catalyst in Janus, but a big cheerleader of Janus in hopes to destroy Labor, and glomming on in any way he could to appeal to anti-labor voters and gin up anger at state employees.

    This “accusation” of Rauner here, while milled as as calling out, is as phony that it’s about a ”better” whatever, and not a Republican or Democratic thing.

    You want to call out Rauner, ok, have at it. Don’t tell me it’s not a non-partisan “look-see”.

  2. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 8:13 am:

    I cannot believe he did not file an amicus brief.

  3. - Nick - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 8:14 am:

    It’s really irritating how they keep calling it “a condition for employment “. It’s paying for a service that is provided for the employee per the law

  4. - RNUG - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 8:35 am:

    If the stakes weren’t so high, this would be an amusing sideshow to the case.

    Like others, I’m a bit surprised the State did not file a brief in this case. But not really, because any filing representing the State should have been done by Lisa. That could have been interesting …

    Still, Rauner could have used his own lawyers and filed one using his position as Governor. Apparently, Rauner wants to claim involvement and even claim the hoped for outcome. But he also seems to want to keep his fingerprints off of it enough that he has plausible deniability should the case go against his desires.

    Politics can be really strange sometimes.

  5. - Truthteller - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 8:54 am:

    This dispute lays bare the modern Republican Party, two factions vying for the mantle of union-buster in chief.
    I don’t think that President Lincoln who said, “Labor is the superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration” would be comfortable in his party today. He likely wouldn’t get past a GOP primary.

  6. - City Zen - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 9:07 am:

    ==It’s paying for a service that is provided for the employee per the law==

    Who wrote the law?

  7. - Robert the 1st - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 9:10 am:

    We are talking government unions, not private. You can quote Lincoln, I’ll quote FDR.

  8. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 9:16 am:

    Hughes’ letter is ridiculous. Liberty Justice Center is a charity case tag along in this case. Dan Webb is the first named attorney on the case, and the National Right to Work Foundation attorney is the counsel of record.

  9. - RNUG - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 9:17 am:

    == Who wrote the law? ==

    Better question might be:

    Who brought AFSCME in?

    Hint: it was a GOP Governor

  10. - anon - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 9:23 am:

    The ‘criticism’ of Rauner for not filing an amicus brief seems misplaced here. Only the AG can file in court unless the AG permits the state agency or officer to retain their own attorneys.

  11. - Retired Educator - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 9:25 am:

    Does the fact that he is taking credit for something he had nothing to do with surprise anyone? I think the same can be said for school funding reform, and a host of other things, over that three plus tears.

  12. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 9:32 am:

    Rauner filed an amicus brief in the earlier Friedrichs v. Calif. Teachers case so it’s not like there would have been a lot of research his staff had to do for a brief in Janus.

    Guess his staff agreed with Lisa Madigan’s arguments to SCOTUS last time that he was unauthorized to file such an amicus brief in his official capacity.

  13. - Chris P. Bacon - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 9:37 am:

    The Illinois GOP is about as dysfunctional and divided as I’ve ever seen it. A high bar indeed.

  14. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 9:37 am:

    Also I am no Rauner fan but nothing he said as far as how SCOTUS will rule is incorrect. Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans politically blocked Merrick Garland from SCOTUS specifically so a Gorsuch type could do the bidding of Republicans in cases like this one.

    The Supreme Court is a political body and for the Liberty Justice Center to pretend otherwise is an insult to everyone’s intelligence.

  15. - Dome Gnome - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 9:53 am:

    When the Titanic starts sinking, the people commence jumping ship.

  16. - Nick - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 10:25 am:

    I don’t know who wrote the law - that is irrelevant
    The fact that the unions are forced to represent everyone regardless if they are a dues paying member or not is the issue
    There for e the fair share share payment.

    Pay for the services your receive

  17. - Liberty - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 10:26 am:

    If you actually read about Gorsuch rulings you might be surprised. He seems concerned with executive branch overreach in deciding law. That issue can cut both ways. Perhaps this is why the state didn’t offer an opinions. With Roberts seemingly seeking middle ground on many rulings, the predictions seem simplistic and premature.

  18. - Ste_with_a_ven - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 10:26 am:

    It is impressive that Patrick Hughes has an even inflated sense of self than Dan Proft.

  19. - City Zen - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 10:49 am:

    ==I don’t know who wrote the law - that is irrelevant==

    Not really. The AFL-CIO and IEA both wrote the law that Thompson signed. It’s relevant because…

    ==The fact that the unions are forced to represent everyone regardless if they are a dues paying member or not is the issue==

    Then why did the unions write the law that way?
    What could they possibly gain by having the exclusive, monopolistic right of representation of all employees? Did I mention the monopoly?

  20. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 10:51 am:

    Nobody is forced to join a union.

  21. - Nick - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 10:54 am:

    So. The unions wrote the law
    Why did Thompson sign it

  22. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 10:56 am:

    In January, I attended a function where Rauner spoke and he claimed full credit for the “Janus” case.

  23. - Nick - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 11:17 am:

    Why can’t the unions cut the free riders loose
    You don’t want to pay for services then don’t
    You can fend for yourselves.
    Good luck with that
    Just look at how much more state employees would have to
    pay in just health insurance alone if there was no union
    fighting for them
    How about pay cut
    How about pension changes
    Hundreds thousands. ?
    What they pay in union dues month is a bargain. For what they get In return

  24. - Huh? - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 11:20 am:

    If you actually read about Gorsuch rulings you might be surprised that they are unintelligible and draw on legal ideas that have no basis in the US Constitution.

  25. - City Zen - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 11:45 am:

    ==So. The unions wrote the law. Why did Thompson sign it==

    Because politicians sign laws primarily crafted by lobbyists all the time. The question is why the unions would write a law that allegedly burdens themselves. Unless it’s really not a burden.

    ==Why can’t the unions cut the free riders loose==

    They could, if they forego their monopoly. But they know it is much more valuable to be “forced” to represent some employees versus the possibility of representing no one.

  26. - Albany Park Patriot - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 11:47 am:

    Why either Rauner or this front group would want to pretend this is about anything OTHER than busting up unions is nutty. It’s like pretending my shoe has nothing to do with my feet.

  27. - Nick - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 11:51 am:

    Why would they have to forego their monopol
    There are plenty of dues paying members that want to pay dues and have union representation

    There’s a very small amount of employees that don’t want to
    They should be able to opt out. Without the bencits of course

    My guess if it actually came to that no one would opt out.
    They wouldn’t want to lose their benefits
    Only reason it’s an issue now is some want to get something for nothing and it fits the republican far right narrative

  28. - Nick Name - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 12:17 pm:

    AFSCME, the AFL-CIO, and other labor advocates should issue a statement urging Gov. Gaslight to keep shooting his mouth off.

  29. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 12:43 pm:

    “- Truthteller - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 8:54 am:

    This dispute lays bare the modern Republican Party, two factions vying for the mantle of union-buster in chief.
    I don’t think that President Lincoln who said, “Labor is the superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration” would be comfortable in his party today. He likely wouldn’t get past a GOP primary.”

    The same can be said about Kennedy and the Democratic Party. This is a tired and worn out analogy.

    Both Parties are not what they used to be

    This is why I am an Independent

  30. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 12:49 pm:

    “- hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 9:37 am:”

    Who made it political? The Democrates

    Your Party played politics on the court long before the Republicans fought back.

    I support the Union and am an Independent and have a hard time with partisans on both sides because there is no intellectual honesty.

    Just like Gerrymandering, both sides do it

    No hands are clean

  31. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 12:54 pm:

    “- Huh? - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 11:20 am:”

    There fixed it for you

    If you actually read about Ginsburg rulings you might be surprised that they are unintelligible and draw on legal ideas that have no basis in the US Constitution.

  32. - walker - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 1:27 pm:

    All about the 501(3)c tax status and maintaining the “no-political-coordination” stance.

  33. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 2:08 pm:

    ==Who wrote the law?==

    Not labor unions. The obligation of “duty of fair representation” the concept that a labor union must represent all members in their bargaining unit was first made law when the Supreme Court ruled on 1944 Steele vs. L and N RR Co. The unions were the defendants in this case and they lost.

    The “duty of fair representation” was later solidified in the Taft Hartley Act of 1944. Taft Harley established Right to Work for states, and put emphasis on the fact that a person who wasn’t a union member could not be underserved by union that covered his or her bargaining unit.
    Most unions were opposed to Taft Hartley and President Truman vetoed it.

  34. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 2:09 pm:

    Oops. Taft Hartley became law in 1947.

  35. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 2:13 pm:

    Nick, unions can’t withhold benefits or negotiations from members of the bargaining unit. It would be against the Taft Hartley Act. They are forced to give their services to freeloaders.The only way to fix this is to get rid of Taft Hartley.

  36. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 20, 18 @ 3:32 pm:

    Rauner and Liberty Justice Center fighting over who is taking the credit for Janis is like watching junkyard dogs fighting over a pork chop. It would be amusing except we the people are the pork chop.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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