The Buckeye Institute Appeals Thompson v. MEA to United States Supreme Court

Jan 25, 2021

Columbus, OH – On Friday, The Buckeye Institute filed its petition for certiorari in Thompson v. Marietta Education Association with the United States Supreme Court. Buckeye’s petition calls on the Court to hear this important First Amendment case and end laws forcing public-sector employees to accept a union’s unwanted representation.
“For far too long, Jade Thompson has been forced to speak through and associate with a union of which she is not even a member in violation of her First Amendment rights,” said Robert Alt, president and chief executive officer of The Buckeye Institute and a lead attorney on the case. “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit found that old case law required it to rule against Ms. Thompson, while nonetheless concluding that Ohio’s ‘take-it-or-leave-it system’ of exclusive representation directly conflicts with the principles announced in the 2018 Janus v. AFSCME decision—a discrepancy that can be resolved only by the U.S. Supreme Court. Today, The Buckeye Institute has asked the high court to do just that by taking Ms. Thompson’s case and vindicating her First Amendment rights.”

Thompson’s case was initially filed on June 27, 2018, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, with its motion for preliminary injunction filed on July 23, 2018. The case was then appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on February 18, 2020.

“Laws forcing teachers like Jade Thompson to accept compulsory union representation are unconstitutional and incompatible with the freedom of speech and the freedom of association,” said Andrew M. Grossman, partner at BakerHostetler LLP in Washington, D.C., and counsel of record on the petition. “The U.S. Supreme Court must protect the First Amendment rights of Ms. Thompson and public employees across the country.”

Jade Thompson (watch a video of her telling her own story below and read her opinion piece in The Columbus Dispatch) is a public high school Spanish teacher in Marietta, Ohio. Her union—the Marietta Education Association (MEA)—bargains for numerous policies with which she disagrees.

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 currently representing Jade Thompson of Ohio and Professor Kathy Uradnik of Minnesota in similar cases.

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