Don’t have time to read Janus? Don’t worry, we read all 49 pages for you.

Here is a 4 minute version in mostly words directly from the court:

*All words in quotations are directly pulled from the court’s decision.


Janus overturned the Supreme Court’s Abood decision from 1977. A public-sector union may no longer charge dues to a non-member without their consent.

“The State’s extraction of agency fees from nonconsenting public-sector employees violates the First Amendment”

“As is evident in non-agency-fee jurisdictions, unions are quite willing to represent nonmembers in the absence of agency fees.”

“In any event, States can avoid free riders through less restrictive means than the imposition of agency fees.”

“Nor did Abood take into account the difference between the effects of agency fees in public- and private-sector collective bargaining”

“chargeable and nonchargeable expenditures has proved to be impossible to draw with precision, as even respondents recognize.”

“It (Abood) was also decided when public-sector unionism was a relatively new phenomenon. Today, however, public-sector union membership has surpassed that in the private sector”

Majority Opinion:

Overturned Abood’s two arguments that agency fees keep labor peace and avoids free riders.

“this arrangement violates the free speech rights of nonmembers by compelling them to subsidize private speech”

“Designating a union as the employees’ exclusive representative substantially restricts the rights of individual employees. Among other things, this designation means that any individual employees may not be represented by any other agent other than the designated union; nor may an individual employee negotiate directly with their employer.”

Janus was forced to pay 78.06% of full union dues, which was $44.58/month or $535/year.

Originally, the Governor of Illinois tried to be a plaintiff, but he lacked standing.

The majority applied strict scrutiny while the dissent argued for rational-basis review.

“The federal employment experience is illustrative. Under federal law, a union chosen by majority vote is designated as the exclusive representative of all the employees, but federal law does not permit agency fees.”

“Whatever may have been the case 41 years ago when Abood was handed down, it is now undeniable that “labor peace” can readily be achieved “through means significantly less restrictive of associational freedoms” than the assessment of agency fees.”

“Suppose that a particular group lobbies or speaks out on behalf of what it thinks are the needs of senior citizens or veterans or physicians, to take just a few examples. Could the government require that all seniors, veterans, or doctors pay for that service even if they object? It has never been thought that this is permissible.”

“The union may not negotiate a collective-bargaining agreement that discriminates against nonmembers”

“Individual nonmembers could be required to pay for that service or could be denied union representation altogether.”

The court also rejected respondents’ new arguments.

Argument made:

Aboodwas correctly decided because the First Amendment was not originally understood to provide any protection for free speech rights of public employees.”

Majority response to that claim:

“Taking away free speech protection for public employees would mean overturning decades of landmark precedent.”

“We can safely say that, at the time of the adoption of the First Amendment, no one gave any thought to whether public-sector unions could charge nonmembers agency fees.”

“The idea of public-sector unionization and agency fees would astound those who framed and ratified the Bill of Rights.”

Argument made:

“The principal defense of Abood advanced by respondents and the dissent is based on our decision in Pickering

Majority response:

“As we pointed out in Harris,Aboodwas not based on Pickering.”

“We see no good reason, at this late date, to try and shoehorn Aboodinto the Pickering framework.”

“This case, by contrast involves a blanket requirement that all employees subsidize speech with which they may not agree.”

“Even if we were to apply some form of Pickering, Illinois’ agency-fee arrangement would not survive.”

“There are laws that protect public employees from being compelled to say things that they reasonably believe to be untrue or improper”

“Unions can also speak out in collective bargaining on controversial subjects”

“the dissent refuses to recognize what actually occurs in pubic-sector collective bargaining.”

The majority then defended it overturning precedent and explained stare decisis.

“An important factor in determining whether a precedent should be overruled is the quality of its reasoning”

Abood judged the constitutionality of public-sector agency fees under a deferential standard that finds no support in our free speech cases.”

Abood also did not sufficiently take into account the difference between agency fees in public- and private-sector collective bargaining.”

Abood’sline between chargeable and nonchargeable union expenditures has proved to be impossible to draw with precision.”

“Not even the parties defending agency fees support the line that has taken this Court over 40 years to draw.”

“Objecting employees also face a daunting and expensive task if they wish to challenge union chargeability determinations.”

The majority’s conclusion.

“They contend that collective-bargaining agreements now in effect were negotiated with agency fees in mind and that unions may have given up other benefits in exchange for provisions granting them such fees. In this case, however, reliance does not carry decisive weight. For one thing, it would be unconscionable to permit free speech rights to be abridged in perpetuity in order to preserve contract provisions that will expire on their own in a few years’ time.”

“A union’s attorneys undoubtedly understand that if one provision of a collective-bargaining agreement is found to be unlawful, the remaining provisions are likely to remain in effect.”

“It is hard to estimate how many billions of dollars have been taken from nonmembers and transferred to public-sector unions in violation of the First Amendment.”

“Neither an agency fee nor any other payment to the union may be deducted from a nonmembers wages, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay.”

“Unless employees clearly and affirmatively consent before any money is taken from them, this standard cannot be met.”