The newest face on the U.S. Supreme Court may be the deciding vote in an upcoming case involving union dues.
The case is Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31. The Supreme Court is being asked to overturn a 41-year-old ruling that allows unions to collect so-called "fair share" fees from employees who are not union members. As The Associated Press reports, America's union leaders are about to find out if they were right to fiercely oppose Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court as a pivotal, potentially devastating vote against organized labor.
AFSCME president Lee Saunders has called the case an effort to chip away at the power of unions "to negotiate a fair return on our work, provide for our families, and lift up the concerns of all working families."
This is not the first time Gorsuch (back row, far right in photo above) has been considered a major factor in the Janus case. In a 2017 interview, Mark Mix of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc. – the organization representing Mark Janus before the Supreme Court – said Gorsuch is likely to be the decisive vote on this issue.
"Janus is following in the footsteps of in the Supreme Court case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association," explains Mix. "Like Friedrichs, Janus argues that being forced to pay dues to a union violates the First Amendment rights of government employees."
Oral arguments the first time around wrapped up just before Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016.
"While Friedrichs deadlocked 4-4 after Justice Scalia's death, the confirmation of Justice Gorsuch offers a new opportunity for the Supreme Court to rule public-sector forced dues unconstitutional," Mix adds.
Gorsuch – President Trump's only Supreme Court appointment thus far – was confirmed in April 2017.