In an historic move, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling in favor of Mark Janus, a public employee in Illinois. Justice Samuel Alito, delivering the opinion of the Court, wrote, “Forcing free and independent individuals to endorse ideas they find objectionable raises serious First Amendment concerns” (emphasis mine).
What was this case all about? Mark Janus a child welfare worker in Illinois claims compelling him to pay dues to a union whose policies he doesn’t agree with is a violation of his constitutional rights. Janus argues that non-political dues – called agency fees — that employees have been forced to pay for years to fund collective bargaining are political because they involve the development of public policy and the involvement of tax dollars.
What impact will this ruling have on North Carolina? Collective bargaining by public employees is illegal in our state, which means the effects of this case will not be felt as directly as they will in places with large union representation, like Illinois or California.
However, we can expect to see secondary and tertiary effects as this case will inevitably affect the largest teachers union in the nation, the National Educators Association (NEA), thereby impacting our state’s most entrenched, highly political teachers association, the North Carolina Association of Educators, with regarding to funding and membership. Civitas Policy Director, Bob Luebke, writes that the decline of the NEA will lead to, “a big ripple that will ultimately impact finances and operations in all states.”
At the heart of this ruling are the issues of free speech and individual liberty. Can the government, both at the state and federal levels, compel its employees to fund ideas, organizations, and programs that are antithetical to that individual’s beliefs?
We know from a liberty standpoint that the answer to this is, “No.” Thankfully, the highest court in the land has acknowledged this essential principle, as well.
Today, not only did Mark Janus win, but every liberty-loving, free-speech advocating American won.