For over 11 years, the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation has been litigating cases to promote human flourishing and protect legal rights. The Foundation has helped discover and end the dues skim that afflicted home health care and child care providers. We’ve fought attempts to force graduate student researchers at the University of Michigan to pay union dues, and filed lawsuits on behalf of teachers trapped into paying a union even after Michigan adopted right-to-work.
Perhaps because of our lawsuits, the state’s highest court has recognized our expertise in other situations. Twice in the last 12 months, the Michigan Supreme Court asked us to submit an amicus brief, or friend-of-the-court brief, in cases brought by others. Courts use amicus briefs as they examine specific issues; not only do they discuss the legal merits of a case, they tell the court what impact the case will have on society.
When a court receives an amicus brief, it’s usually an unsolicited one. Sometimes, though, a court will ask an organization to submit one if it believes it has particular expertise. We are proud to announce that in the case Sole v. MEDC, the Michigan Supreme Court asked us for a brief on the issue of transparency in economic development programs.
In another case, TPOAM v. Renner, justices asked us to address whether a union’s duty of fair representation requires it to represent, at no charge, a worker facing a grievance proceeding if the worker is governed by its contract but is not a member.
We also have provided counsel to key government officials outside Michigan. The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, together with the Institute for the American Worker, helped on an amicus brief for 30 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The congressmen included the chairman of the Republican Study Committee; the ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions; and the ranking member of the Education and Labor Committee. The brief addressed the proper standard for determining whether a worker is an independent contractor, and it may be a key part of the National Labor Relations Board’s forthcoming decision in the case Atlanta Opera.
We will never stop fighting to protect worker freedom and prevent the undoing of sound policy through unsound court decisions. And we will continue to offer our expertise in Michigan and throughout the country, to ensure prosperity for all.