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The Supreme Court’s Opinion in Janus v. AFSCME

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The Supreme Court’s opinion in Janus v. AFSCME 

In a 5-4 ruling that errs on the side of the First Amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court has concluded in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31, that state laws forcing public-sector employees to provide financial support for unions that engage in political activities with which they disagree violates the First Amendment. In weighing in on the case, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute had argued that the Illinois law being challenged, like similar laws in many other states, violates the First Amendment’s prohibition against compelled speech by forcing employees to pay dues to unions that take positions on controversial issues even if employees object to those positions and by requiring employees to affirmatively opt out in order to recover back payments to the union deducted from their paychecks without their consent.

“The right to hold a position that is neither yea nor nay carries with it a simultaneous right not to be perceived as taking sides. This right is both a speech right and a privacy right,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. “The very purpose of the First Amendment, as Justice Hugo L. Black recognized, is to ensure that Americans are free to think, speak, write and worship as they please, not as the government (or employee unions) dictate. Moreover, as Thomas Jefferson recognized, ‘to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical.’”


June 27, 2018 • First Amendment Victory: U.S. Supreme Court Prohibits States From Forcing Public Employees to Finance Union Activities With Which They Disagree


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