In everyday life, I’m a librarian. The library system I work for is unionized. Our union is AFSCME, which stands for American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. Bruce Rauner, Governor of Illinois, persuaded one Illinois state employee, Mark Janus, to file a lawsuit against AFSCME, charging that the fair use fee the union charges non-union-member employees is in fact unfair. Janus says AFSCME spends union member money on candidates and social causes with which he personally does not agree. For this reason, he does not want his money supporting the union in any way, shape or form. His case is based on a contemporary legal argument in the U.S. that ‘money is free speech’. If money is free speech, the legal argument goes, then Mr. Janus is being made to say something with his fair use fee which he does not want to say.
At this point, it should be noted that the Supreme Court of the United States heard a case in 1977 on fair use fees charged by unions from non-union members. The Supreme Court then found in favor of the unions. The union’s lawyers in this earlier case successfully argued that when a non-union member has a grievance against the employer, it is the union through which they file and pursue their case against their employer. Such representation costs the union time, effort and money, therefore a fair use fee is only fair.
In my opinion, the Supreme Court of the United States is a little like the Pope, because they are traditionally wary issuing verdicts which run the risk of suggesting their predecessors may have been in error in their interpretation of the law. They don’t change legal precedent easily. But that earlier case was forty-one years ago, and this is a very different court, one which decided the Citizens United case several years ago in favor of the ‘money is free speech’ argument. So the results of this case are very much up in the air, and a perfect subject for a card reading. What follows is the reading I did on March 5, 2018 about this case.
Because this reading is about a court case, I invented a layout which is two arrow points aimed at each other, all court cases fundamentally being two sides going head-to-head in a fight. For the last two cards in the spread, I borrowed a little from the European geomantic ‘shield’ spread. The result was this:
After shuffling and cutting the cards (again, I was using the Gilded Reverie LeNormand Fortune deck, expanded edition), I laid them out from top to bottom, and from left to right. So Card 1 is the Star, Card 2 is the Fox, Card 3 is the Mountain, Card 4 is the Bridge, Card 5 is the Anchor, Card 6 is the Garden, Card 7 is the Clouds, Card 8 is The Older Woman, Card 9 is the Clover, Card 10 is the Rider, Card 11 is the Lilies, Card 12 is the Mice, Card 13 is the Flowers (note it’s position above and between the two sides) and finally, Card 14 is the Dice.
The Star represents hopes, ideals, and optimism. The Fox can represent trickiness in all its forms, but the Fox card also represents one’s job. The Mountain represents conflicts, obstacles, something big and important. On the AFSCME side of this spread, these cards clearly indicate they see this court case as a major threat to the job security of their members, for the Anchor card is right there beside the Fox and the Mountain cards. The Anchor represents security. The Bridge card represents connection.
With the Bridge card, its always important to note which cards come up in its immediate vicinity, for it links them in an important way. In this reading, the Bridge connects the Star Card with the final card on the AFSCME side, the Garden Park card. The Garden card, also known as the Garden Park card or simply the Park card, represents the public and all public venues. The hopes and idealism of the Star card are connected to the public in the Garden card. Many of us in public sector work are genuinely idealistic about it; we get our jollies serving the public good. We believe what we do is important.
The apex card on Mark Janus’ side of the spread is the Clouds card. Traditionally the Clouds card in the LeNormand deck is composed of dark, threatening and stormy clouds on the left side of the card, and lighter clouds on the right side of the card. It is no surprise that the dark and stormy side of the card is toward the AFSCME side of the layout. The Clouds card represents thought. It also represents worries, doubts, confusion. Mark Janus is thinking dark thoughts about AFSCME in this case. The three base cards on his side are the Rider, the Lilies and the Mice. The Rider is always a message; it moves things along. The Lilies are a card of elders and life transitions such as graduation, weddings, retirement, and death. It is a card of resolution. The Mice card represents incremental undermining. Summing these three cards up, for Mark Janus, this court case means he wants a definitive answer about the resolution of a situation that he feels is incrementally undermining him–his money, being nibbled away at in every paycheck, by a union which does not represent him.
The two cards immediately behind Mark Janus’ card in this spread are the Older Woman card and the Clover card. These cards support his, in a way, for they stand behind him. The Older Woman card is someone, either a wife or other adult female such as a relative, friend or co-worker who has been a supportive influence on him throughout this whole ordeal. As an AFSCME member, the card below her gives me pause. The Clover card, quite simply, represents luck. It can also represent spring, nature, new things, etc., but its primary meaning is luck. This can mean two things. Either Mark Janus is of the opinion this woman represented by the other card has brought him good fortune in his life, or luck is honestly on his side in this court case and a majority of the court will decide in his favor. Or both meanings can apply.
The Judge card, the thirteenth card in this layout, is intended to shine some light on SCOTUS’ position in this case, and how they’re likely to rule. The Flowers card represents a gift given or a reward bestowed. The Supreme Court of the United States is going to present one party in this court case with a valuable gift–a decision in their favor.
The Resolution card, the fourteenth and final card in this layout, is the Dice card. I did this reading March 5, 2018, exactly one week after the Supreme Court of the United States heard the argument of AFSCME versus Janus. So at the time of this reading, I interpret the Dice card as meaning the outcome of this case was still very much up in the air, and that the justices were still debating the issue. But…I always like to look at the unused, remaining cards in the pile I selected for the reading, for often those cards will yield some insight as to the final resolution of the matter.
The remaining cards in the pile were the Storks, the Snake and the Cross. The Storks represent, movement, progress, promotion, the birth of a child, a happy home, and the like. The Snakes are treachery and deceit. The Cross is suffering. So interpreting the Storks as representing the ‘progressive’ (i.e., liberal) side of this court case–AFSCME–I am going to predict that the court, in a 5-to-4 split, will find in favor of Mark Janus. The Clover card on his side of the spread supports this interpretation. Doubtless progressives are going to be seeing the outcome of this case as treachery on the part of SCOTUS, as evidenced by the presence of the Snake Card. Suffering (the Cross card)awaits the losing side of this case.