IC alum central in Supreme Court case

By Nick Draper Published 5:00 am, Monday, March 12, 2018 Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 IC alum central in Supreme Court case 1 / 1 Back to Gallery To Illinois College alum Mark Janus, who is at the center of a history-making Supreme Court case, it’s about standing up for what he believes is right. It’s that belief that resulted in his fight against the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union to the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court’s decision could play a pivotal role in how union dues are handled for non-union employees. “My parents raised me believing that if you start something you need to finish it and that we need to stand up with our principles,” Janus said. “It’s part of what I learned in scouting as a boy scout growing up. After I got older and became a scout leader, it’s a lesson that I taught my scouts: That they have to stand up for what they believe in.” Janus is a lifelong native of Springfield, excluding his four-year education with Illinois College where he majored in business administration. He spent some time working for the Jacksonville Journal-Courier after his graduation in 1975 and then moved briefly to Peoria before coming back to work for his dad at his company Jaeger Beauty Supply Company. Recommended Video: Now Playing: Some Illinois lawmakers want Supreme Court to rule on Blagojevich case Media: Fox32 After the company closed, Janus went to work for the state in the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, issuing small business loans for economic development purposes. He then went on to do accounting for a Springfield printing company, started his own business selling spiral binding, and then landed back at the state as a child-support specialist after selling his company. It was as a specialist he started noticing a line-item on his checks that read “union dues.” Continue Reading

Workers Rally About Supreme Court Case That Could Weaken Unions

Bay City News Service Published 4:03 pm, Monday, February 26, 2018 SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) Nearly 100 teachers, nurses, transit workers and politicians rallied at San Francisco City Hall today in response to a U.S. Supreme Court case that could decrease funding and participation in unions. The court heard arguments today in the case, Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council (AFSCME), in which the plaintiffs argue that non-union workers should not have to pay "fair-share" union fees. The U.S. Supreme Court set that precedent 40 years ago. In California, all public sector employees are required to join unions, pay a certain portion of union dues, or determine their involvement through a union security agreement. Twenty-seven other states are considered "right to work" employers, and do not mandate union participation. Recommended Video: Now Playing: A divided Supreme Court sparred Monday over a case that could undermine the financial footing of labor unions that represent government workers. (Feb. 26) Media: Associated Press During today's rally, participants held signs that said, "Right to work means a right to starve!" They said employees universally benefit from labor activists' efforts to secure fair pay, health care, gender equality and humane working conditions in the public sector. Union leaders said they support both union and non-union members indiscriminately, and losing funding could significantly weaken their ability to collectively bargain. "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the labor movement," San Francisco Board of Supervisors president London Breed said, explaining that her own education was funded by union work. Many middle-class employees view the case as pitting corporate interests against public servants, and Supervisor Jane Kim called the proceeding a "symbol of utmost greed and selfishness." Mayor Mark Farrell also denounced the case, saying, "we are a union town Continue Reading

Inmate in landmark Supreme Court case denied parole

Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press Updated 11:32 am, Monday, February 19, 2018 Photo: John Boss, AP Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 RETRANSMITTED TO UPDATE CAPTION AFTER PAROLE BOARD DECISION - FILE - In this February 1964 file photo, Henry Montgomery, flanked by two deputies, awaits the verdict in his trial for the murder of Deputy Sheriff Charles H. Hurt in Louisiana. On Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, a three-member panel must decide whether to grant parole to Montgomery, a prisoner who's getting his first chance at freedom after nearly a half-century behind bars. (John Boss/The Advocate via AP, File)/The Advocate via AP) less RETRANSMITTED TO UPDATE CAPTION AFTER PAROLE BOARD DECISION - FILE - In this February 1964 file photo, Henry Montgomery, flanked by two deputies, awaits the verdict in his trial for the murder of Deputy Sheriff ... more Photo: John Boss, AP Inmate in landmark Supreme Court case denied parole 1 / 1 Back to Gallery BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A 71-year-old Louisiana inmate whose case led to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on juvenile-offender sentences was denied parole Monday, more than a half-century after he killed a sheriff's deputy at age 17. A three-member panel from the state parole board voted 2 to 1 to keep Henry Montgomery imprisoned. The hearing was his first chance at freedom since his conviction decades ago and a vote to free him would have had to be unanimous. Montgomery now must wait another two years before he can request another parole hearing. The Supreme Court's January 2016 decision in Montgomery's case opened the door for roughly 2,000 other juvenile offenders to argue for their release after receiving mandatory life-without-parole sentences. Montgomery has served 54 years in prison for shooting East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputy Continue Reading

Catholic bishops side with labor unions in Supreme Court case

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons/Duncan Lock A general view of the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington on Dec. 5, 2004. WASHINGTON — U.S. Roman Catholic bishops are backing public sector unions in an upcoming Supreme Court case, pitting church leaders against the Trump administration and conservatives in a legal battle over how organized labor is financed. In an amicus brief filed on Friday (Jan. 19) in the case of Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sides with the union, which is being challenged by the State of Illinois over its right to collect money from nonmembers for collective bargaining. The bishops equated the effect of a ruling against the unions to the landmark high court decisions, Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges, which respectively legalized abortion and same-sex marriage. A judgment against AFSCME, the brief says, “would represent another unfortunate decision of this Court that marginalizes the voice of the bishops with respect to an important public policy debate by declaring their position to lie beyond the constitutional pale.” AFSCME, the nation’s largest union of public employees, argues that it needs nonmembers to pay “fair-share fees” to manage the costs of representing all employees in collective bargaining, as they are legally allowed to do, according to the 1977 ruling Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. The Trump administration’s Office of Solicitor General and conservative groups including the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty have filed briefs in support of overruling the Abood decision, agreeing with the plaintiff that the fees are an infringement on free speech. The bishops note their longstanding opposition to “right-to-work” legislation, which doesn’t allow employees to be charged for union representation they Continue Reading

Supreme Court Case Shows How Amazon Legally Cheats Workers

No other company embodies the mantra “Time is money” quite like Amazon, with its seamless mastery of “just in time” logistics and round-the-clock online retail hours. But inside the cavernous warehouses that ship its goods, there are real people, and their time is not so preciously valued. So the Supreme Court is weighing their right to fair pay against the profits of an e-commerce Goliath. In Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk, two Amazon warehouse workers, Jesse Busk and Laurie Castro, argue that they should be paid for time spent undergoing daily security checks, designed to ensure employees don’t leave work with stolen goods. Though the roughly twenty-five minutes they spend on this check each day is not officially clocked, it is mandatory. So Integrity Staffing, Amazon’s warehousing subcontractor, is effectively stealing their wages by not compensating them for this time spent on the tedious routine of removing their wallet and keys and shuffling through a metal detector. Shouldn’t the subcontractor, as part of its “inventory control” operations, be paying workers overtime for the trouble they must go through to prove they’re not thieves? But business groups, along with the White House, have joined Integrity to contend they have no legal obligation to pay for time spent on post-work security check. They cite the Portal-to-Portal provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which states that the time workers spend on activities considered “preliminary” or “postliminary” to the job is “non-compensable.” So employees need not be compensated for time spent commuting to work, for example. But a health worker in an infectious disease ward would be compensated for time spent suiting up in protective gear. In oral arguments on Wednesday, Integrity Staffing’s attorney Paul Clement argued the security check is “materially similar to the process of checking out at Continue Reading

KING: Until these two Supreme Court cases are successfully challenged, police brutality will continue

Today is Part 1 in an emergency five-part series on the dramatic and specific shifts we must make to actually reduce police brutality in America. We are losing this battle. The problem is getting worse. New strategies are required. For all intents and purposes, police brutality is legal in America. Police policy manuals may discourage it and communities across this country may absolutely despise it, but the bottom line is that our courts are condoning it each and every time officers who brutally kill men, women and children are set free. Conservatives and liberals alike seem to at least agree that most police departments have at least a few bad apples, but the bottom line is that almost none of those bad apples — including the most egregious, heinous, despicable officers in America — are being held accountable for their egregious crimes against humanity. What I am about to say in the clearest, most unmistakable terms I've ever used on police brutality. Two Supreme Court cases, Tennessee v. Garner (1985) and Graham v. Connor, have effectively legalized police brutality. I broke these two cases down in great length previously, but let me give you the basics again now. Tennessee v. Garner seemed like a major victory for those fighting against police brutality. A young, unarmed black boy in Tennessee named Edward Garner was shot in the back and killed by police in Memphis. That boy, who posed no physical harm to the officer, was shot just so he could not get away from a non-violent crime he was suspected of committing. Edward weighed 110 pounds, was in the 8th grade, and was believed to have stolen a wallet with $10 in it. That was in 1974. His father fought for justice for his son, year after year, in court after court, and believed he finally received it in 1985 when the Supreme Court ruled that it is actually unconstitutional to shoot a fleeing suspect like Edward Garner. The court, in what appeared to be a tremendous victory, ruled, Continue Reading

Judge Napolitano Explains Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Case

Judge Andrew Napolitano was on “The Kelly File” tonight to discuss a Supreme Court case on a key challenge to the Affordable Care Act. Napolitano said the Supreme Court will rule on whether or not the government can force for-profit businesses to pay for contraceptive services for their employees. The Affordable Care Act mandates that any business with 50 or more employees provides workers with health care that includes contraceptives at no cost. Napolitano said the court will have to rule on whether corporations have religious protection under the First Amendment and if the religious views of shareholders trump federal law. If the Supreme Court rules “yes” on those two issues, then Napolitano said the case would be a ”significant gutting of the Affordable Care Act.” Napolitano believes the court will rule in favor of shareholders’ religious liberties. Watch his full analysis above. Supreme Court to Hear Arguments Tuesday on Challenge to ObamaCare Birth Control Rule Colorado Ads Use Birth Control, Kegs to Convince America's Youth to Sign Up for ObamaCare   Continue Reading

Political maps under fire as Supreme Court case on tailor-made districts looms

CHESTER, Pa. — Beth Lawn's neighborhood of modest duplexes has more in common with the rest of this struggling, crime-ridden city on the Delaware River next to Philadelphia than it does with the Amish farms of Lancaster County 50 miles away.But the 71-year-old grandmother awoke one morning to find she had been moved from Pennsylvania's 1st congressional district to the 7th, a labyrinthine monstrosity that winds its way through five counties and has been likened to a caricature of Goofy kicking Donald Duck."I'm pretty sure I'm in Goofy's thumb," Lawn says. "I have a vote, but it really doesn't count for anything."Jerry DeWolf had a similar experience across the border in Maryland when his largely rural 6th congressional district, home to 40 miles of the Appalachian Trail, was stretched to include wealthy suburbs of Washington. He wasn't moved out, but a new congressman was moved in.Both Lawn and DeWolf were victims of partisan gerrymandering — purposeful line-drawing by state lawmakers to maximize their political party's strength in Congress and state legislatures and weaken their opponents. In Lawn's case, Pennsylvania Republicans drew the maps. In DeWolf's, it was Maryland Democrats.But they didn't take the creative penmanship sitting down. Both are now plaintiffs in lawsuits challenging the lines, which gave Republicans 13 of Pennsylvania's 18 congressional districts and Democrats seven out of eight in Maryland. As the Supreme Court prepares to hear a landmark challenge to Wisconsin's partisan gerrymandering in October, opponents of the process in other states aren't just waiting for the justices' verdict. They're waging legal and constitutional battles of their own that also could reach the nation's highest court."We've been subjugated into irrelevancy," DeWolf says of the conservative residents of western Maryland, who elected an even more conservative member of Congress for 20 years until Continue Reading

Tiny Arizona church wins Supreme Court case on signs

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that cities and towns generally cannot limit roadside signs based on what they say.The justices unanimously said the town of Gilbert, Ariz., violated the First Amendment by giving signs promoting a church's worship services vastly inferior treatment compared to political campaign signs.Writing for the court's majority, Justice Clarence Thomas said the town law limiting the size of the church's signs and the length of time for which they could be displayed was a "content-based" restriction on the church's speech. He said the town had no justification for such a restriction, and it was therefore unconstitutional.The case was touted by lawyers for Good News Community Church as a major test of religious freedom, but the justices didn't treat it that way. Rather, they said local governments must be able to justify the disparate treatment accorded organizations seeking to spread their messages.The justices split, however, on how difficult it should be for governments to clear the bar. Thomas's majority opinion said they can do so only if the policy serves a compelling governmental interest, a standard that few laws can meet. Justices Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg predicted that standard will bring a rash of lawsuits against more reasonable sign regulations.While Kagan wrote that Gilbert's law did not pass even "the laugh test" because it lacked reasons for its signage distinctions, she warned that the new, higher standard needed to justify regulations could jeopardize even signs pointing the way to where George Washington slept."Our communities will find themselves in an unenviable bind," Kagan said. "They will have to either repeal the exemptions that allow for helpful signs on streets and sidewalks, or else lift their sign restrictions altogether and resign themselves to the resulting clutter."Thomas, joined by five of the court's other justices, said courts must be skeptical of any law that Continue Reading

Health-law subsidies at risk in Supreme Court case

More than 126,500 Arizona residents could lose health-insurance coverage if the U.S. Supreme Court this month rejects the federal government's method of helping people pay for health insurance.The case, King v. Burwell, examines whether Affordable Care Act subsidies that help offset monthly health insurance premiums are allowed only in marketplaces that are "established by the state."The challengers contend that the phrase, written into President Barack Obama's signature health-care overhaul, forbids subsidies in at least 34 states that use the health-care law's federal marketplace, www.healthcare.gov.These monthly subsidies are at the heart of the health law's attempt to make insurance affordable for moderate– to middle–income families who purchase health coverage. If those subsidies go away, that would trigger a 132 percent average increase in the monthly health-insurance tab for Arizona residents enrolled in subsidized marketplace plans, according to Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit health foundation.Many would find no-subsidy plans too expensive and drop their coverage, experts say."Even with the subsidies, it's a stretch for some people," said Tom Zumtobel, CEO of Meritus, a non-profit health insurance cooperative. "We are talking about people for whom $10 to $20 a month matters. They just don't have the money for that."But the impact would be more dramatic than higher health-insurance bills for working-class Arizonans. Without subsidies, experts predict it would ripple through the individual health-insurance market as healthy people drop coverage rather than pay more costly insurance bills. That could send monthly premiums soaring in 2016 as the insurance pools become dominated by sicker people who use more prescription drugs and visit doctors more frequently — a phenomenon called the death spiral.The Urban Institute estimated that 8.2 million people nationwide would lose their health insurance as non-subsidized enrollees drop coverage, Continue Reading