Sachen v. Illinois State Board of Elections

Two Chicago Public School teachers and two parents are suing the Illinois State Board of Elections and state officials to ensure Illinois voters do not face an unconstitutional choice at the ballot box this November.

Illinois is a union state. Public sector unions hold a tight grip on politicians, state and local budgets, and even dictate whether kids can go to school in person.

Illinoisans who have been working hard to fight against the union power monopoly are now facing a new challenge. A ballot measure, Amendment 1, seeks to strengthen the power of both public and private unions by amending the Illinois constitution to make make collective bargaining a “fundamental right.”

But there is one major problem — the measure violates federal law and the U.S. Constitution.

Now, two Chicago Public School teachers and two parents are suing the Illinois State Board of Elections and state officials to ensure Illinois voters do not face an unconstitutional choice at the ballot box this November.

Amendment 1 gives both government and private-sector employees the “fundamental right” to collectively bargain, but the state cannot lawfully give that right to private-sector workers. The National Labor Relations Act (NRLA) exclusively governs private-sector collective bargaining nationwide and preempts state law. And, the NRLA says that private sector workers have a limited right to bargain under certain circumstances and over certain issues, including wages and hours.

The state cannot adopt a measure that conflicts with federal law. The U.S Constitution makes this clear in the Supremacy Clause. And, the state cannot use taxpayer funds for an unconstitutional purpose — in this case, asking Illinoisans to consider an unconstitutional ballot measure.

Attorneys from the Liberty Justice Center and the Illinois Policy Institute are representing Chicago residents who want the illegal amendment removed.


Jacob Huebert

Jacob Huebert

Jacob Huebert serves as the president of the Liberty Justice Center. He previously served as the Liberty Justice Center’s Director of Litigation. In that role, he successfully litigated cases to protect economic liberty, free speech and other constitutional rights. Jacob and his work have appeared in numerous national media outlets, including the Wall Street JournalNew York Times and Fox News Channel.

Jeffrey Schwab

Jeffrey M. Schwab

Jeffrey M. Schwab is a Senior Counsel at the Liberty Justice Center, where he litigates cases to protect the rights to free speech, economic liberty, private property and other Constitutional rights in both federal and state courts across the country.

Case Press Releases

Case In The News

Chicago Magazine
October 24, 2022

(Chicago Magazine)—As other Midwestern states restrict labor’s power, an amendment on the Illinois ballot would further protect it here. Bruce Rauner hated unions. But as a Republican governor with a Democratic legislature, he knew he couldn’t push through a statewide “right-to-work” law. Such legislation would have allowed employees in unionized...

The Center Square
September 7, 2022

(The Center Square)—For the first time in five years, union membership is up in Illinois just as a battle is brewing over an amendment on the November ballot regarding collective bargaining. According to the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, Illinois gained about 16,000 union members last year even as the number...

September 5, 2022

(WTTW Chicago Tonight)—As the U.S. observes Labor Day, Illinois voters are set to cast their ballots in the November general election on a state constitutional amendment that could give workers more rights in the workplace. The so-called Workers’ Rights Amendment would guarantee Illinois workers the constitutional right to collectively bargain...

Wall Street Journal
August 29, 2022

(The Wall Street Journal)—Amendment 1 would further entrench the power of public unions. Public unions already dominate government in Illinois, and Democratic lawmakers now want to amend the constitution to entrench that power and block reforms. Those are the stakes of Amendment 1, which will appear on the November ballot....

The Center Square
June 2, 2022

(The Center Square) – A Sangamon County Circuit Court judge on Thursday denied a petition that sought to block an amendment that would codify union powers in the Illinois state constitution from appearing on the November ballot. The case was brought by parents and teachers from Chicago Public Schools and...

May 26, 2022
A Sangamon County Circuit Court judge heard arguments in a case that seeks to block an amendment to the Illinois state constitution from appearing on the ballot in the November election....
May 20, 2022

(WMBD-TV) — The June primaries may be about a month away, but come November, Illinois voters will have the chance to vote on a constitutional amendment. This amendment faces the first legal challenge on Friday. “The goal of this lawsuit is to keep this unconstitutional measure off the ballot,” said...

May 20, 2022

(WMBD News)—Jacob Huebert, President of the Liberty Justice Center, spoke with WMBD News about Sachen v. Illinois State Board of Elections, the lawsuit challenging Illinois’ unconstitutional ballot amendment.

NPR Illinois
April 21, 2022

(NPR Illinois)—Before closing out its truncated spring legislative session earlier this month, the General Assembly approved language that will be put to voters in November, asking whether Illinois should amend its constitution to add a so-called “Workers’ Rights Amendment” to guarantee the right to collectively bargain in a state with...

The Center Square
April 21, 2022

(The Center Square) – Parents and teachers from Chicago Public Schools have filed a petition in an effort to block a proposed constitutional amendment they believe contradicts federal law governing labor relations. The Illinois Right to Collective Bargaining Amendment, also known as Amendment 1, was approved in Senate Joint Constitutional...



Sachen v. Illinois State Board of Elections


April 21, 2022


Seventh Judicial Circuit Court in Sangamon County




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