"The case threatens the existence of unions", he said.
The key justice remained silent.
With the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court previous year, experts say it's likely a majority of justices will side with the non-union worker who originally brought the case. The addition of Justice Neil Gorsuch is widely expected to give plaintiffs the fifth vote they need to outlaw the non-member fees. And he wasn't talking. Those union members who opt to pay only for agency shop representation, which is a small number, get a slight discount on their fees, Shaw said.
When the state of IL and the union's lawyers made their arguments, the more conservative justices took the lead - with Kennedy vigorously and repeatedly taking aim at the fees and the public sector unions' aims more broadly. The court should issue its opinion in this important case by the end of June. Until now, those workers could save only about 10% to 20% of their costs by quitting the union.
As a public employee, and a non-member of his office's union Mark Janus is one of many like him, who eventually paid what's called an agency fee.
County Commissioner Ted Kopas said the court case was indicative of an attack on union workers in both the public and private sectors.
The case is one of the most-watched this term, two years after a union dues case ended in a 4-4 deadlock. In 2016, Scalia's death a month after oral arguments denied conservatives their fifth vote - a vote Gorsuch probably will provide.
In a legal brief, MacKinnon wrote that the Service Employees International Union Local 509 has joined with Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, to upgrade technology, improve staffing, and rewrite policies to better protect abused and neglected children. After a 70-year decline in union membership, the consensus is for more of the same.
Public employee unions have more than 7 million members, and the automatic dues payments are a reliable source of revenue for the powerful, and often political, entities.
Overall, median weekly earnings for unionized public sector workers are 19.5% higher than non-unionized public sector workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The case centers on employees' free speech and free association rights to refuse to support organizations with which they disagree.
Bruce Rauner and Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan were both inside the Supreme Court on Monday for Janus v AFSCME Council 31 oral arguments - a big IL case and a high point of the Rauner crusade to eradicate public sector unions.
When California lawyer Edward DuMont argued Monday that contract issues such as mileage reimbursement were apolitical, Chief Justice John Roberts fired back that "it's all money", and more mileage for workers equals less for, say, welfare. The case asks the justices to overturn a decades-old precedent and deal a financial blow to the unions that represent teachers and other public-sector employees. A new working paper by Rutgers University professor William Rodgers III found that right-to-work laws hit the earnings of black and Latino workers the hardest because they are disproportionately represented in unions. "They can go straight to hell because we're fighting back like never before". More than 4.5 million teachers are union members. "Thousands of municipalities would have contracts invalidated".
"What we're talking about here is compelled justification and compelled subsidization of a private party, a private party that expresses political views constantly", Kennedy said. "What would be the justification?" That meant a lower court's ruling in favor of the fees stood. Kennedy pointed out that public unions come down "against privatization, against merit promotion. for massive government, for increasing bonded indebtedness, for increasing taxes".