Janus Timeline

Date Posted: 
Thursday, March 8, 2018


What is the basic issue before the Supreme Court in Janus? 
Should Abood v. Detroit Board of Education be overruled and public-sector "agency shop" arrangements be invalidated under the First Amendment? Janus asked the Supreme Court to overrule the Abood decision and hold that requiring an unwilling employee to pay even this more limited fee violates the First Amendment. The defendant unions brought a motion to dismiss based on the precedent established by the Supreme Court in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education which gives the public sector unions the right to collect fair share fees from non-members.
What is Abood? Abood v. Detroit Board of Education-In 1977, the Supreme Court ruled that public employees who do not belong to a union can be required to pay a fee - often known as a "fair share" or "agency" fee - to cover the union's costs to negotiate a contract that applies to all public employees, including those who are not union members.
Challenges to Abood v. Detroit Board of Education: Harris v. Quinn- In June 2014, the court found that the home health aides/ care workers in Illinois were not "full-fledged public employees", therefore the rules for Abood did not apply. In the case of Friedrichs v California Teachers Association, in March 2016, Friedrichs objected to having to pay agency fees. The court heard oral arguments in the case but had not yet announced its decision before Supreme Court Justice Scalia died. The Supreme Court upheld Abood.

Janus Timeline: 

  • In February 2015, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner issues an Executive Order cutting off the deduction of fair share fees for state employees across the state of Illinois and files a complaint in federal court seeking a declaratory judgment to validate that action.
  • A coalition of the over 20 unions that represent state employees in Illinois responds by filing a motion to dismiss the complaint on the basis that the Governor lacks standing and has no injury.
  • Shortly after the filing of the motion to dismiss, a state employee represented by AFSCME, Mark Janus, and another state employee represented by the Teamsters, Brian Trygg, files motions to intervene in the case based on their own complaints. The National Right to Work Legal Committee and the Liberty Foundation serve as the legal counsel for Janus and Trygg.
  • A coalition of public sector unions move to dismiss the complaint filed by Janus and Trygg based on the precedent established by the Supreme Court in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. Abood is theSupreme Court case that gives public sector unions the right to collect fair share fees from non-members. 
  • On September 13, 2016, the trial court grants the motion to dismiss that was filed by AFSCME and the other public sector unions, holding that Governor Rauner had no standing to sue because he was not personally subject to the fair share fees. Following that decision, Janus and Trygg appeal to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • On March 1, 2017, the 7th Circuit hears oral arguments in the Janus case.
  • On March 21, 2017, the 7th Circuit affirms the trial court's dismissal, in an opinion written by Judge Posner holding that Abood still applies. 
  • On June 6, 2017, Mark Janus asks the Supreme Court to find that it is unconstitutional for public employers to deduct fair share fees and other similar union agency fees.
  •  On June 20 and 21, 2017 both parties consent to the filing of Amicus briefs.
  • On July 7 and 10, 2017 Amicus file briefs in support of Janus' claim.
  • On August 10, 2017, Attorney General of Illinois, Lisa Madigan and Solicitor General of Illinois, David L. Franklin files an Amicus brief in opposition to Janus' claim.
  • On August 11, 2017, AFSCME files an Amicus brief in opposition to Janus' claim.
  • On August 29, 2017, Mark Janus files a response arguing that the question in his case is worthy of review by the Supreme Court, as the Court has addressed the issue twice in recent years (Friedrichs v. Cal. Teachers Ass'n and Harris v. Quinn).
  • On August 30, 2017 the case is distributed for conference on September 28, 2017. The Court decided to hear the case.
  • National Right to Work opening brief was filed on November 29, 2017.
  • Amicus briefs in support of National Right to Work were filed on December 6, 2017.
  • AFSCME's brief in response is due on January 12, 2018.
  • Amicus briefs in support of AFSCME are due on January 19, 2018
  • Reply brief is due one week before oral arguments.
  • Oral arguments are set for February 26, 2018.
  • Decision will be issued any time after the oral arguments and prior to the conclusion of the court term on June 30, 2018.


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