U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch will soon be offered the chance to flex his conservative muscles in a court battle slated for Feb. 26.
The subject of the case -- unions.
A long-standing argument of workers who don't wish to join unions is that they still have to pay for the services unions advance on behalf of all workers. These are commonly called fair share fees.
The individual worker does not have to pay for any of the political activities the union undertakes, nor should they.
Gorsuch will be in the unique position to split a 4-4 tie from the bench that forced a stalemate the last time the subject came before the high court just prior to Justice Antonin Scalia's death.
He would have likely come down on the side of the workers who opt not to join the unions. Workers who do join pay dues, of course.
But the argument that those who don't join and do not pay dues continue to benefit from the union's efforts in labor disputes with corporate ownership, while true, isn't the fault of the workers who don't join. Whether the union wins its labor disputes or not, the worker who didn't join the union didn't ask anyone to argue on his or her behalf anyway, so why should he or she have to pay?
Proponents of fair share fees say that this is the crux of their argument. The workers who don't join do benefit from the unions' efforts, and if they didn't have to pay then neither would the people who do join and pay dues want their non-union co-workers to benefit from assistance they did not contribute to.
That, union leaders and advocates fear, would destabilize the unions and fracture the workforce at a time when, they say, unions are beginning to be needed again.
Each person has to decide for his or herself if he or she supports unions or not, if he or she wants to join a union or not and -- we hope Gorsuch will agree -- whether he or she wants to pay to support the union's efforts or not, political or labor related.
We suspect this is just one of many future SCOTUS decisions in which Gorsuch's appointment by President Trump is going to play a pivotal role.