First Amendment Champions Join Freedom Foundation in Fight Against Union Forgeries

First Amendment Champions Join Freedom Foundation in Fight Against Union Forgeries
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First Amendment Champions Join Freedom Foundation in Fight Against Union Forgeries

“The Freedom Foundation is pleased to be joined by fellow champions of the First Amendment in our fight to stop government employee unions from stealing money out of public workers’ paychecks by illegally forging signatures on membership applications,” said Eric Stahlfeld, chief litigation counsel for the Freedom Foundation.

On October 4, the Freedom Foundation filed a petition for a writ of certiorari at the United States Supreme Court regarding five instances of forgery by government union representatives in order to deduct dues payments from people who exercised their constitutional rights against being forced to subsidize the respective unions’ political speech.

“It’s been frustrating to watch as courts in California, Oregon and Washington dismissed our clients’ constitutional claims against unions with a clear financial interest in gathering as much money as they can from public employee paychecks, without the individuals’ consent and in some cases, even over an outright refusal to sign up for union membership,” continued Stahlfeld. “But to have the 9th Circuit rule neither the government nor the corrupt unions violated the employees’ constitutional rights is downright infuriating.”

The Liberty Justice Center, the Illinois Policy Center, and the Upper Midwest Law Center submitted a joint amicus brief on Nov. 2.  The Goldwater Institute submitted a separate amicus brief on Nov. 6.

From the joint brief:

“The Ninth Circuit’s holding is wrong. It is inconsistent with this Court’s decision in Janus, holding that the union violated Mr. Janus’s First Amendment rights when it acted with the government employer to withhold dues from his paycheck for the benefit of the union… Under the Ninth Circuit’s holding that no state action occurred, unions will be permitted to ignore this Court’s holding in Janus and continue to withhold money from non-consenting employees’ paycheck without any constitutional scrutiny.”

From the Goldwater brief:

Janus requires clear and compelling evidence of actual voluntary, affirmative consent before the state may take money from a person’s paycheck for the benefit of the union. Without that protection for genuine consent, the right to freely associate – and freely disassociate – means little. Yet thanks to a series of recent decisions by lower courts, Janus’s protection for these rights have been effectively gutted. This Court should act to give full protection to the First Amendment rights of public sector employees who have been victimized by fraudulent union dues deduction schemes, restrictive opt-out windows designed to trap them into ongoing dues payments, and other schemes whereby public sector unions are effectively nullifying the rights to which Janus and other cases promise protection.”

“The Freedom Foundation greatly appreciates these fellow First Amendment defenders for supporting our ongoing fight to hold corrupt government unions accountable to the Supreme Court’s clear ruling in Janus v. AFSCME,” concluded Stahlfeld. “We hope the Court takes this opportunity to clarify Janus means what it says, that it is unconstitutional to compel a public employee to fund objectionable speech.”