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Thursday round-up

The spotlight stays on the high-profile union-fees case that will be argued this month, Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, in which the court will consider whether an Illinois law allowing public-sector unions to charge nonmembers for collective-bargaining activities violates the First Amendment. At The Daily Caller, Kevin Daley reports that “[t]he U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops filed an amicus brief at the Supreme Court supporting a pro-choice labor union in a dispute over mandatory union fees,” and that “[t]he case … places the Church’s historic support for organized labor in direct tension with its opposition to abortion.” At The Atlantic, Garrett Epps laments that the argument by two libertarian-leaning scholars in an amicus brief in the case that “the agency fees paid by objectors simply do not implicate their First Amendment rights at all” is unlikely to “slow the court’s stampede to overturn Abood,” the precedent holding the fees to be permissible. In an op-ed in The Washington Post, Charles Lane observes that “[i]f they lose, unions … should look in the mirror,” noting that “[a]utomatic dues are a mixed blessing for any union, since they relieve leaders from the responsibility to persuade rank-and-file members of the union’s value.”


  • At the Stanford Law Review Online, Evan Zoldan discusses Patchak v. Zinke, in which the justices are considering the separation-of-powers limits on Congress’ ability to direct the outcome of litigation, suggesting several approaches through which “the Court can reaffirm Congress’s primacy in lawmaking and, at the same time, preserve some level of independence for the judiciary.”
  • In an op-ed for The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse argues that the justices’ disposition of the Trump administration’s “urgent and highly unusual” request that the Supreme Court hear a challenge to a district-court order blocking the administration’s attempt to unwind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program before the court of appeals has ruled on the issue will determine whether “the Roberts court serve[s] as Donald Trump’s enabler” or “see[s] itself … as a firewall between the president and the rule of law.”
  • At Casetext, David Boyle offers his take on National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, a First Amendment challenge by crisis-pregnancy centers to a California law requiring disclosures about, among other things, the availability of publicly funded family-planning services, arguing “for a form of ‘balance’, i.e., exempting the clinics from the obligation to post the ‘abortion number’, but not exempting them from having to admit any unlicensed status.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Feb. 15, 2018, 7:20 AM),