Interesting Linda Greenhouse essay on Janus. Traces the history and the politics in play here. Also makes the case for the difference between the legal legitimacy and sociological legitimacy of government actions and implies that the court will undermine it’s legitimacy with a nakedly political play here.
I’m not so sure, that seems overwrought on the specifics of this case. Besides, the court has done nakedly political things, just ask President Gore, and yet it endures because it’s an instrumental institution to our democracy.
But it points up an aspect of this case I’ve been surprised has not received more attention – how you go about exercising your agency fee rights in the first place. Generally in conversations I hear about this people make it out as though it’s some sterile box checking practice – like deciding whether or not you want transportation reimbursement or vision insurance from your employer. No biggie either way. Whatevs as the kids say.
In some places that’s how it goes down, yes. But often there is a lot of social pressure put on teachers* – pressure that in some cases might even be construed as intimidation. Though I think there are real issues at stake, Greenhouse notes that the Janus case is in no small part one of the Court’s own creation as the conservative justices have left bread crumbs asking for a case like this for some time. But in the same vein, this is one reason I’ve wondered about this issue and these cases as a creature of the teachers’ unions* own creation, too, because they don’t make the agency fee process as clean and easy as it might be. In other words, one can agree with them on the merits of the case in theory but also think that in practice they’ve created an untenable situation for individuals through how this plays out. The legal and social aspects play out in multiple ways.
In any event, we’ll know soon what the court thinks. Expect a ruling in the next few days. Here’s a deck that outlines the context and what’s at stake.
*Although its effect will likely be broad, Janus is a case with a different public sector union member involved not a teacher. Friedrichs, its precursor, dealt with a California teacher. In the above I’m discussing teachers, I don’t have experience with how this plays out with other public sector unions.
Former Ed Sec Dick Riley is getting a statue in SC.
*Headline changed, editing error.