Supreme Court Amicus Brief of 22 Corporate Law Professors, Mark Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31, et aL, No. 16-1466

56 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2018

See all articles by John C. Coates, IV

John C. Coates, IV

Harvard Law School

Lucian A. Bebchuk

Harvard Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

John C. Coffee

Columbia Law School; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Bernard S. Black

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law; Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Lawrence A. Hamermesh

Widener University Delaware Law School

James D. Cox

Duke University School of Law

Marcel Kahan

New York University School of Law; European Corporate Governance Institute

Reinier Kraakman

Harvard Law School; European Corporate Governance Institute

Jeffrey N. Gordon

Columbia Law School; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Ronald J. Gilson

Stanford Law School; Columbia Law School; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Vikramaditya S. Khanna

University of Michigan Law School

Michael Klausner

Stanford Law School

Henry Hansmann

Yale University - Law School; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Donald C. Langevoort

Georgetown University Law Center

Brian JM Quinn

BC Law School

Michal Barzuza

University of Virginia School of Law

Mira Ganor

University of Texas at Austin - School of Law

Edward B. Rock

New York University School of Law; European Corporate Governance Institute

Mark J. Roe

Harvard Law School

Helen S. Scott

New York University (NYU)

Holger Spamann

Harvard Law School; ECGI

Randall S. Thomas

Vanderbilt University - Law School; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: December 7, 2017

Abstract

The Supreme Court has looked to the rights of corporate shareholders in determining the rights of union members and non-members to control political spending, and vice versa. The Court sometimes assumes that if shareholders disapprove of corporate political expression, they can easily sell their shares or exercise control over corporate spending. This assumption is mistaken. Because of how capital is saved and invested, most individual shareholders cannot obtain full information about corporate political activities, even after the fact, nor can they prevent their savings from being used to speak in ways with which they disagree. Individual shareholders have no “opt out” rights or practical ability to avoid subsidizing corporate political expression with which they disagree. Nor do individuals have the practical option to refrain from putting their savings into equity investments, as doing so would impose damaging economic penalties and ignore conventional financial guidance for individual investors.Most individual shareholders cannot obtain full information about a corporation’s speech or political activities, even after the fact, nor can most shareholders prevent their savings from being used for political activity with which they disagree. More generally, the Court's focus on whether union non-members are effectively forced to fund political speech or activity with which they disagree should reflect the fact that most Americans must routinely fund speech with which they disagree. While some of this compulsion is from practical reality rather than law there are numerous examples outside the union context of laws that require individuals to fund expressive activities. There is, simply put, very little way for most individuals in modern America to avoid subsidizing speech with which they disagree.

Keywords: corporate politics, union politics, First Amendment, shareholder rights, corporate speech

JEL Classification: D91, G32, G11, G18, G34, G38, K22, K31, J83

Suggested Citation

Coates, John C. and Bebchuk, Lucian A. and Coffee, John C. and Black, Bernard S. and Hamermesh, Lawrence A. and Cox, James D. and Kahan, Marcel and Kraakman, Reinier H. and Gordon, Jeffrey N. and Gilson, Ronald J. and Khanna, Vikramaditya S. and Klausner, Michael D. and Hansmann, Henry and Langevoort, Donald C. and Quinn, Brian JM and Barzuza, Michal and Ganor, Mira and Rock, Edward B. and Roe, Mark J. and Scott, Helen S. and Spamann, Holger and Thomas, Randall S., Supreme Court Amicus Brief of 22 Corporate Law Professors, Mark Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31, et aL, No. 16-1466 (December 7, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3086666 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3086666

John C. Coates (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Lucian A. Bebchuk

Harvard Law School ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-3138 (Phone)
617-812-0554 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/bebchuk/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

John C. Coffee

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States
212-854-2833 (Phone)
212-854-7946 (Fax)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

American Academy of Arts & Sciences

136 Irving Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Bernard S. Black

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-2784 (Phone)

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
847-491-5049 (Phone)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Brussels
Belgium

Lawrence A. Hamermesh

Widener University Delaware Law School ( email )

4601 Concord Pike
Wilmington, DE 19803-0406
United States
302-477-2132 (Phone)
302-477-2257 (Fax)

James D. Cox

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States
919-613-7056 (Phone)
919-613-7231 (Fax)

Marcel Kahan

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States
212-998-6268 (Phone)
212-995-4341 (Fax)

European Corporate Governance Institute ( email )

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

Reinier H. Kraakman

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-3586 (Phone)
617-496-6118 (Fax)

European Corporate Governance Institute ( email )

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

Jeffrey N. Gordon

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
Ctr. for Law and Economic Studies
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-2316 (Phone)
212-854-7946 (Fax)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Ronald J. Gilson

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States
650-723-0614 (Phone)
650-725-0253 (Fax)

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States
212-854-1655 (Phone)
212-854-7946 (Fax)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

Vikramaditya S. Khanna

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States
734-615-6959 (Phone)

Michael D. Klausner

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States
650-723-6433 (Phone)
650-725-0253 (Fax)

Henry Hansmann

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States
203-432-4966 (Phone)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Donald C. Langevoort

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-662-9832 (Phone)
202-662-9412 (Fax)

Brian JM Quinn

BC Law School ( email )

885 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02459-1163
United States

Michal Barzuza

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

Mira Ganor

University of Texas at Austin - School of Law ( email )

727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
United States

Edward B. Rock

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute ( email )

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

Mark J. Roe

Harvard Law School ( email )

Griswold 502
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-8099 (Phone)
617-495-4299 (Fax)

Helen S. Scott

New York University (NYU) ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

Holger Spamann

Harvard Law School ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

ECGI ( email )

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

Randall S. Thomas

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

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