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Legal Features

The Rutherford Institute’s amicus brief in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31

Arguing that the First Amendment forbids the government from dictating what citizens should say, whom they should support or with whom they should associate, The Rutherford Institute has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn existing law that allows unions to require public-sector employees to subsidize political activities undertaken by the union.

In an amicus curiae brief filed with the Court in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31, Rutherford Institute attorneys are challenging laws in Illinois and elsewhere that require public employees who do not wish to support a union’s activities to affirmatively file an “opt out,” thereby violating the employee’s right to keep his views private. Moreover, as the brief argues, such laws violate the First Amendment’s prohibition against the government compelling speech by forcing members to financially support political activities they do not agree with and requiring employees to affirmatively opt out in order to recover back payments to the union deducted from their paychecks without their consent.