Bill McMorris of the Washington Free Beacon profiles Mark Janus, the key figure in a court fight over labor unions.

Mark Janus is at the center of a potentially historic Supreme Court case that has led to him being characterized as a billionaire union-buster, rather than the child support specialist who just wants to have a choice of whether or not to join a union.

After a hiatus from government employment to work in the private sector, Janus took a job as a child support specialist at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. He noticed something had changed since his last stint in the public sector: His paycheck didn’t add up. He brought the deduction up with a superior.

“When I raised the question, they just said, ‘That’s the way it is now.’ That’s what kind of riled me up,” Janus recalls, adding that his previous work at the Commerce Department was non-union.

In his first interview since the Supreme Court announced it would take up Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 31, Janus stressed that he does not begrudge anyone union membership. He says he gets along with his coworkers and no one treats him any differently since he began the case.

“I’m definitely not anti-union. Unions have their place and many people like them. … I was never given a choice,” he said. “I really didn’t see that I was getting any benefit [from union membership]. I just don’t think I should be forced to pay a group for an association I don’t agree with—that goes to the First Amendment.”

Janus’s case could overturn a forty-year-old precedent first set in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977) that allows government agencies to mandate union dues or agency fees as a condition of employment.