How Local Right-to-Work Battles Could Land at Supreme Court


If a federal court strikes down a local right-to-work ordinance in Illinois, the case could move up to the Supreme Court, according to legal analysts who have argued in favor of similar initiatives in other parts of the country.

That’s because a negative ruling from a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard oral arguments March 27 in the Illinois case, would conflict with a ruling last year out of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld local right-to-work initiatives in Kentucky, they said.

“When you have a split between circuits, holding different interpretations regarding the law and precedent, then the Supreme Court is more likely to … hear the case,” Theodore Kittila, a Delaware lawyer who represents the Caesar Rodney Institute, a Wilmington-based free-market think tank, said in an email.

“It’s not automatic, and circuit splits can last for years and years,” Kittila said. “But this is such an important issue, it may be enough to attract the Supreme Court’s interest, even without a circuit split.”

Right-to-work laws prohibit private-sector employers from entering into agreements that make union membership and payment of union dues a condition of employment for their workers.

Twenty-eight states and the territory of …read more