Monday, February 19, 2018
As Michael Perry noted a few days ago, the USCCB filed an amicus brief in the Janus case, which does not -- contrary to the suggestion in the USCCB's brief -- present the question whether right-to-work should be constitutionalized in the private sector, but instead asks the Court to decide whether the First Amendment permits governments to condition public employment (employment that is, collective bargaining aside, heavily regulated and protected) on affiliating with a political association (i.e., a public-sector-employee union) whose activities and expression one opposes.
In my view -- and I've gone through my reasons here at MOJ many times (Ed.: Talk about an understatement!) it is a mistake both to (a) think that strong support rightly expressed in Catholic Social Thought for the dignity and rights of workers means that Catholics should support the policy agenda of today's unions (e.g., opposing school choice) and (b) to fail to distinguish between the labor-capital dynamic, on the one hand, and the taxpayer/government/party/public-employee dynamic, on the other. But, I understand, many intelligent Catholics disagree with me, though I cannot help being frustrated that some persist in the tired and inaccurate claim that my view is somehow "libertarian" or (shudder) "neo-liberal." In any event, and notwithstanding my huge admiration for the General Counsel, I think the challengers' legal arguments are the stronger ones. And, here (in City Journal) is a helpful and, in my view, compelling analysis of the case.
All that said, here is a statement from Bishop Thomas Paprocki (Springfield), responding to the USCCB's brief.