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Federal Judge’s Ruling Allows Buckeye’s Case to Move Forward, Beginning Legal Fight to Protect First Amendment Rights of Public Employees

Dec 05, 2018

Columbus, OH – Robert Alt, The Buckeye Institute’s president and chief executive officer, issued the following statement after Maine Federal District Court Judge Jon D. Levy granted the motion to dismiss in Reisman v. Associated Faculties of the University of Maine, et al. The Buckeye Institute is representing Jonathan Reisman in his challenge to forced exclusive representation, and has already filed its notice of appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

Robert Alt, The Buckeye Institute’s president and CEO, and a lead attorney in the case said about the ruling in Professor Reisman’s case, “The Janus decision raised serious questions about the constitutionality of exclusive representation—questions which the U.S. Supreme Court needs to resolve. On Tuesday, The Buckeye Institute asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear another challenge to exclusive representation arising out of Minnesota. We will also appeal this unfortunate decision by the District Court in Maine, and intend to fight for Professor Reisman’s First Amendment rights all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Forcing hard-working public servants to engage in speech with which they disagree is unfair, unconstitutional, and un-American.”

Background on The Buckeye Institute’s Legal Cases following Janus:

The Buckeye Institute was the first organization in the country to file lawsuits calling on courts to end compelled exclusive representation following the Janus decision, and is representing Professor Kathy Uradnik in Minnesota, Jade Thompson in Ohio, and Professor Jonathan Reisman in Maine.

Jonathan Reisman’s case was filed on August 10 in the United States District Court for the District of Maine, with a preliminary injunction motion filed on August 16.

Jonathan Reisman (watch a video of him telling his own story below and read his 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 Associated Faculties of the Universities of Maine’s (AFUM) grievance officer for the Machias campus. While Professor Reisman would have liked to remain a member of his local union, if he did so, he would be forced to also support the state and national unions with which AFUM affiliates—the Maine Education Association and the National Education Association—unions which hold opposing views on a wide range of political and public policy issues. So he resigned his union membership. But, under Maine law, Reisman had no alternative but to continue to accept AFUM’s representation.

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