Amicus Efforts: Connecting Clients and Amplifying Voices
Featuring Post-Janus Labor Work in the U.S. Supreme Court. We were asked by two top law firms to help convince the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their cases seeking to extend the reach of the 2018 Janus v. AFSCME decision. First, we worked with the premier D.C. firm Consovoy McCarthy to secure a party for an amicus brief in Jarchow v. State Bar of Wisconsin, a case filed by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty. In that case, WILL asks the court to vindicate the First Amendment speech and association rights of lawyers and allow them to practice law without joining state-sponsored bar associations, which engage in lobbying on inherently political and ideological issues.
The legal team at Consovoy wanted the Supreme Court to consider the unique argument that bar associations are capable of thriving even when the government doesn’t compel membership. Currently, more than 20 states do not have mandatory bars. To make this argument, the lawyers needed a compelling client. We identified and secured the Government Justice Center in New York, a state with a very successful voluntary bar association, to lead Consovoy’s brief. But our work didn’t stop there. We recruited five other legal and policy groups that agree that mandatory bar associations are unnecessary and unconstitutional: Alaska Policy Forum, James Madison Institute, John Locke Foundation, Nevada Policy Research Institute, and Pelican Institute for Public Policy. Six groups across the country joining together on one amicus brief communicates a strong message to the U.S. Supreme Court that the Jarchow case raises important national issues that should be heard. Without the important voice of groups like the Government Justice Center and their allies — and without the work of American Juris Link to track these opportunities and match the right clients with the right lawyers — the Supreme Court would never see these compelling arguments.
In another important post-Janus case last month, we worked with accomplished attorney Erik Jaffe to support Reisman v. Associated Faculties of the University of Maine, a case filed by the Buckeye Institute. Buckeye challenges state laws that appoint a union to represent and speak for workers who disagree with it — an arrangement known as exclusive representation. Professor Jonathan Reisman, a non-member of the faculty’s labor union in Maine, has major disagreements with his union; yet nonetheless he is required by state law to associate with it and to allow it to speak for him. We recruited the Maine Heritage Policy Center to voice support for Professor Reisman’s First Amendment rights in the Supreme Court. Then, we secured 12 additional groups from across the country to sign on to the brief, including Alaska Policy Forum, Americans for Tax Reform, California Policy Center, Center for Worker Freedom, Empire Center for Public Policy, James Madison Institute, John Locke Foundation, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Mississippi Justice Institute, Nevada Policy Research Institute, Pelican Institute for Public Policy, and Washington Policy Center. Large national coalitions represented by prestigious lawyers have a proven track record of improving the odds that the Court will grant review.