William Baude on his Amicus Brief in Support of AFSCME in Janus SCOTUS Case

The Eminent Libertarians Who Might Save Public Sector Unions

The surprising brief was filed by Eugene Volokh, a law professor at UCLA who specializes in First Amendment issues, and William Baude, a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago. Neither one is especially fond of unions. Still, they argue that mandatory fair-share fees pose no First Amendment issue.

“Compelled subsidies of others’ speech happen all the time, and are not generally viewed as burdening any First Amendment interest,” they write. “Just as non-union members may find many reasons to disagree with a public union’s speech, there are countless grounds to object to other speech supported by government funds. Many people undoubtedly disagree with a great deal of public and private speech funded by taxes or other compulsory payments. There is, however, no First Amendment interest in avoiding those subsidies.”

In other words, the government regularly compels taxes and uses that money to pay for things that taxpayers may politically disagree with, and these union fees should be treated no differently. Volokh and Baude cite public school curriculum and crisis pregnancy centers as two common examples. They argue it’s well within the government’s authority to compel their employees to pay fees for a governmental interest – in this case, maintaining labor peace – even if that money may subsidize things that some personally object to.

Read more at The Intercept