* National Politico on the Janus v. AFSCME case and Janus himself…
Public-employee unions are barred from spending fair-share fees on electoral politics, but attorneys for the plaintiff, an Illinois state worker named Mark Janus, argue that any action by a government union — even collective bargaining — is inherently political, because it involves the expenditure of state money. Ergo, spending Janus’s money on anything constitutes forced political speech and violates his First Amendment rights. AFSCME counters that since the law requires it to bargain collectively for an entire bargaining unit — including union non-members like Janus — then depriving AFSCME of fair-share fees would make it possible for Janus and others to enjoy the benefits of collective bargaining without having to pay for them. Members’ resulting stampede to quit the union and become free riders, says AFSCME, would devastate AFSCME financially — and that’s the real goal.
At a breakfast meeting with reporters Friday, Janus wandered a bit off-script. Far from denouncing collective bargaining as compelled political speech, Janus said “I think unions have a place. Collective bargaining is beneficial to people and workers. But where I draw the line is when somebody tells me that I have to pay something that I don’t agree with.”
Like what? Janus didn’t elaborate. But, writes POLITICO’s Andrew Hanna, Janus “suggested that he opposed AFSCME using his fair-share fee to support the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton, and said he’d be troubled if his fair-share fee went to any other candidate, ‘whoever the candidate may be,’ without his being consulted.” Again: the law already bars AFSCME from spending Janus’s fair-share fees on political candidates or causes, and Janus’s lawyers aren’t arguing that AFSCME violated that law. If Janus’s real beef is that AFSCME supported Hillary Clinton, then he isn’t a good plaintiff for this case.
…Adding… From Gov. Rauner…
From Governor Rauner on today’s SCOTUS arguments:
“Shortly after taking office in 2015, I took action to protect the free speech and free association rights of government employees who are forced to pay union dues and fund political causes they don’t agree with. Today, as these arguments are heard before the United States Supreme Court, I am proud of what we started three years ago. The gravity of the court’s decision will be felt not just in Illinois, but across America and I am confident that they will side with free speech for the people of our great nation.”