Bench Memos

Re: Tomorrow’s Ruling in Harris v. Quinn

A brief follow-up to my post on the broader First Amendment issue that Harris v. Quinn presents:

As this excellent backgrounder by Andrew M. Grossman nicely explains, the dispute in Harris arises from an aggressive effort by Illinois officials and their public-sector union allies to classify so-called “home-care” and “day-care” workers as state employees and to force them to be nominally represented by a union. To illustrate what this means: The petitioner, Pamela Harris, is the primary caregiver for her disabled adult son, and she receives a stipend from the state. By forcing her to be represented by a union for collective bargaining—an apparently empty benefit—the state is able to extract funds from her to benefit the union and its political agenda.

Grossman explains that “[m]ore than a dozen states have implemented schemes like Illinois’s,” with the effect of adding hundreds of thousands of home-based workers to the ranks of those coerced to subsidize public-sector unions.

Ed Whelan — Ed Whelan is a leading commentator on nominations to the Supreme Court and the lower courts and on issues of constitutional law.

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