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US Supreme Court won’t hear Janus-related cases seeking refunds

Monday, Jan 25, 2021

* Vox

The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it will not hear a bloc of several cases that threatened to impose dire financial penalties on public sector unions. The cases all involved unions that charged fees to non-members that were legal at the time the unions collected those fees, but were later declared illegal by the Supreme Court in Janus v. AFSCME (2018) (we’ll call that case “Janus I”).

It’s easy to overread the significance of the Court’s decision not to hear a particular case. When the Court denies review of a lower court’s decision, that does not necessarily mean that a majority of the Court agreed with that decision.

Nevertheless, the anti-union cases that the Court decided not to hear on Monday were only the most recent in a train of cases targeting the finances of public sector unions. The Court’s decision to turn these latest cases aside suggests that, even with a 6-3 Republican majority, a majority of the justices believe they have done enough to prevent unions from collecting fees that the Court’s right flank finds objectionable.

The arguments presented by the plaintiffs in these cases, one of which was a continuation of the Janus case itself (we’ll call that one “Janus II”), were quite radical. As a federal appeals court explained in one of these cases, “the Rule of Law requires that parties abide by, and be able to rely on, what the law is,” not what the law may become in the future.

And yet the plaintiffs in these cases sought to impose potentially debilitating financial consequences on unions that complied with the law — only to have the Supreme Court change the law after the unions complied with it.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

5 Comments
  1. - Friendly Bob Adams - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 11:38 am:

    Are the anti-union plaintiffs offering to refund the money they earned in salary based on raises negotiated by the union? Just wondering.


  2. - don the legend - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 11:46 am:

    ==The Court will only issue a writ if four of the nine Justices vote to do so.==

    I interpret this to mean that not even four of the nine justices would vote to hear these cases.


  3. - thisjustinagain - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 11:50 am:

    To Friendly Bob: Of course not; they earned those raises all by themselves…./sarcasm.
    Good thing SCOTUS rejected this case for hearing, since it was not based in existing law or precedent.


  4. - JakeFree75 - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 1:33 pm:

    At the time these fees were collected, collecting the fees was not a violation of free speech.


  5. - Former Prairie Stater - Tuesday, Jan 26, 21 @ 3:33 am:

    This is an easy one. There was no split among the circuit courts, so there was no difference for the Supreme Court to resolve.

    There will be other challenges. Once a circuit court of appeals rules contrary to what the Seventh Circuit has ruled, and that contrary ruling is appealed to SCOTUS, it will be heard.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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