22 Nationally-Renowned Policy Groups Urge U.S. Supreme Court to Hear The Buckeye Institute’s Case Reisman v. AFUM

Feb 06, 2020

Columbus, OH – Twenty-two nationally-renowned public policy organizations filed amicus briefs with the United States Supreme Court in support of The Buckeye Institute’s case Reisman v. Associated Faculties of the University of Maine (AFUM), which calls for an immediate end to laws that force public-sector employees to accept a union’s exclusive representation.

The Cato Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Fairness Center, Freedom Foundation, Goldwater Institute, Liberty Justice Center, National Association of Scholars, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Pacific Legal Foundation, and a coalition of 13 leading policy organizations all filed amicus briefs in support of Professor Jonathan Reisman and are calling on the Supreme Court to hear his case and end compelled exclusive representation.

“The question before the Court now is whether states can force public employees like Professor Reisman to be represented by unions that many of them have chosen not to join in no small part because of their objection to the unions’ political speech and activities,” said Robert Alt, president and chief executive officer of The Buckeye Institute and a lead attorney on the case. “The time has come for the Supreme Court to decide this important question, and we are pleased that the case has garnered significant amicus support.”

The multi-organization brief was filed by the Maine Heritage Policy Center, Alaska Policy Forum, Americans for Tax Reform, California Policy Center, Center for Worker Freedom, Empire Center for Public Policy, Inc., James Madison Institute, John Locke Foundation, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Mississippi Justice Institute, Nevada Policy Research Institute, Pelican Institute for Public Policy, and the Washington Policy Center.

“The lower courts’ refusal to acknowledge that forced exclusive representation violates the First Amendment calls for the Supreme Court’s intervention, and we hope the Court will take up this case and recognize that Professor Reisman, and other public employees like him, should not be forced to speak through or associate with unions with which they disagree,” said Andrew M. Grossman, a partner at BakerHostetler LLP in Washington, D.C., and counsel of record on the Reisman v. Associated Faculties of the University of Maine petition.

Jonathan Reisman’s case was originally filed on August 10, 2018, with the United States District Court for the District of Maine, with a preliminary injunction motion filed on August 16, 2018. On January 2, 2020, The Buckeye Institute filed a petition with the Supreme Court of the United States.

Background on The Buckeye Institute’s Legal Cases and Plaintiffs:
The Buckeye Institute was the first organization in the country to file lawsuits calling on courts to end compelled exclusive representation following the Janus ruling, and the organization is representing Professor Jonathan Reisman in Maine, Professor Kathy Uradnik in Minnesota, and Jade Thompson in Ohio

Jonathan Reisman (watch a video of him telling his own story below and read his opinion piece in the Portland Press Herald), is an associate professor of economics and public policy at the University of Maine at Machias who served as the AFUM grievance officer for the Machias campus. Professor Reisman would have liked to remain a member of his local union, but if he did so, he would be forced to also support the respective state and national unions with which AFUM affiliates—the Maine Education Association and the National Education Association—unions which oppose his views on a wide range of political and public policy issues. As a result, he resigned his union membership. However, under Maine law, Reisman had no alternative but to continue to accept AFUM’s representation.

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