CHICAGO (Feb. 21, 2019) –– Mark Janus, senior fellow at the Liberty Justice Center and plaintiff in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME, will be recognized with the National Review Institute’s 2019 Whittaker Chambers Award.
The Whittaker Chambers Award honors a “profile in courage.” The award is named for the former National Review writer and author of the seminal memoir Witness, who was a profound influence on William F. Buckley Jr. and on the modern conservative movement in its founding era. Chambers took a public stance against the Communist threat inside American government.
Janus is being honored because of his role in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME and his ongoing work to advance workers’ rights. Janus worked as a child support specialist for Illinois state government for more than a decade. As a government employee in a state without a Right-to-Work law, he was forced to give part of every paycheck to a government union in order to keep his job. In 2015, he turned to the Liberty Justice Center and National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation for help, and sued the state and union AFSCME.
As plaintiff in Janus v. AFSCME, Janus took on one of the largest public-sector unions in the state of Illinois and advocated for his First Amendment rights. The Supreme Court ruled in his favor in June 2018, and because of Janus’s courage no government worker in America can be forced to financially support a government union as a condition of working in public service.
“Mark Janus has been and will continue to be a tremendous advocate for workers’ rights to free speech. He has been a champion of the First Amendment in the face of relentless pressure and intimidation,” National Review Institute President Lindsay Craig said. “And that is why we chose to honor him with the Whittaker Chambers Award.”
In August 2018, Janus joined the Liberty Justice Center as a senior fellow. He travels the country to educate government workers about their rights, meet with policymakers and share his story with the public.
Janus will be presented with the Whittaker Chambers Award as part of NRI’s biennial Ideas Summit in Washington, DC, on Thursday, March 28.
“I am incredibly honored to receive the Whittaker Chambers Award from the National Review Institute. Being American is about standing up for your principles, fighting for your rights and helping others,” said Mark Janus. “I am proud of the impact we’ve had because of my case and I will continue to fight for worker freedom.”