Where was their reverence for the court when Janus was being ignored?

Where was their reverence for the court when Janus was being ignored?

Where was their reverence for the court when Janus was being ignored?

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 last week to bar the state of Texas from protecting its border, Gov. Gregg Abbott responded by defying the ruling. 

Just as President Andrew Jackson in 1832 disregarded a court ruling he didn’t like by retorting, (“Chief Justice) John Marshall has issued his ruling, now let him enforce it,” Abbott asserts that ignoring the court and sending Texas state troopers and National Guardsmen to the border is the only way to prevent an invasion of his state by foreign aggressors.

Predictably, Abbott has been attacked relentlessly by those on the left for his defiance of the court’s edict.

But what he’s doing pales in comparison to what government unions have been doing — and continue to do — in the five years since the justices issued a 5-4 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME.

In that decision, rendered in 2018, the court affirmed that government workers and teachers have a First Amendment right to keep their jobs even if they choose not to join or pay dues to a union.

Ever since, government unions have done everything in their considerable power to prevent the court’s expressed will from being enforced.   

Union officials have routinely lied to workers, telling them they couldn’t leave their union. 

They’ve established opt-out windows that presumed to tell free Americans they could only exercise their Constitutional rights two weeks a year. 

And when all else failed, they forged the signatures of workers trying to exit the union on membership cards and submitted them to the state as genuine.

When the Freedom Foundation sued the unions for siphoning dues money illegally from the paychecks of non-members, the unions declared in court that government agencies were responsible. When we then sued government agencies, they responded by telling the court they were merely doing what unions requested. 

In other words, the justices’ clear intent in Janus was and is being willfully ignored by both the unions and state agencies, resulting in a clear violation of the workers’ rights. And it’s no one’s fault.

The only thing more mind-bogging than having attorneys present such lame arguments is the reality that numerous lower-court judges have actually bought them. And the Supreme Court, inexplicably, still refuses to intervene.

I remember shortly after SCOTUS rendered the Janus verdict, Freedom Foundation attorneys were deposing a union official in Seattle. He told us the union he worked for had established so many “workarounds” that Janus would be worthless for anyone wishing to leave his union.

The union official said when his union received an opt-out card from a member, he and his staff would call the member and ask “Do you really want to leave?” The member would respond “yes.” Then the union rep would ask, “Do you want me to continue calling you once a week to change your mind?” The member would respond “no,” and hang up. 

The union would then transcribe the call (which it had taped) and erase the “yes” and insert the “no” reply to the initial question.

Thus, the worker was prevented from leaving the union despite the Janus decision.

Gov. Abbott’s act of defiance, at least, is based on the principled argument that he cannot simultaneously abide by the court’s order and live up to his oath as governor to protect the lives and property of Texas residents against the onslaught of illegal aliens. All the unions are fighting for is the ability to continue taking money from people who’ve made it abundantly clear they want to keep it.

President
tmccabe@freedomfoundation.com
Tom McCabe is the President of the Freedom Foundation, a non-profit, public policy research organization founded in 1991. The Freedom Foundation’s mission is to advance individual liberty, free enterprise, and limited, accountable government. Tom is a tireless advocate for the free-market movement. For 21 years Tom lead the Building Industry Association of Washington, quadrupling their membership and increasing revenue from $400,000 to $10 million per year. Under Tom’s leadership, BIAW spearheaded statewide initiatives to roll back taxes and regulations. According to the Wall Street Journal, BIAW was the “counterbalance to labor unions in Washington State.” In 2011, the American Conservative Union presented Tom with the Ronald Reagan Award for his years of service in the conservative movement. Before coming to Washington State, Tom served in Washington, D.C. as Director of Congressional Affairs for the U.S. Veterans Administration under President Ronald Reagan. Tom and his wife Susan live in Olympia. They have three sons.