John West joined Bredhoff & Kaiser in 1989 and is now senior counsel. His practice has focused on appellate work and litigation in the federal and state courts, with particular emphasis on education-related matters. He has litigated over a dozen cases involving the constitutionality of private-school voucher programs in various states over the course of the last two decades, and has frequently represented educators asserting due process, free speech, and other constitutional and statutory rights. Another focus of John’s practice has been union security (agency fee) litigation, particularly on behalf of unions in the public sector. He has also handled matters related to issues such as the duty of fair representation, internal union affairs, retiree benefits, qualified immunity, class actions, and RICO litigation.
John has argued cases before the United States Supreme Court, 10 of the 13 federal courts of appeals, 6 state supreme courts, and numerous federal and state trial courts. Representative examples of recent cases John has litigated and argued include Davenport v. Washington Education Association, 551 U.S. 177 (2007) (constitutionality of state restriction on unions’ use of agency shop fees for political purposes); Appoloni v. United States, 450 F.3d 185 (6th Cir. 2006) (whether early retirement incentive payments are “wages” taxable under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act); Bush v. Holmes, 919 So. 2d 392 (Fla. 2006) (invalidating Florida school voucher program as contrary to state constitution’s education clause); Lincoln Hockey LLC v. Semin, 2005 U.S. Dist. Lexis 34047 (D.D.C. 2005) (denying NHL team’s attempt to enforce player contract through civil injunction); U.S. Airline Pilots Association v. AWAPPA, LLC, 615 F.3d 312 (4th Cir. 2010) (affirming dismissal of RICO litigation); and Parrish v. Dayton, 761 F.3d 873 (8th Cir. 2014) (constitutional challenge to collective bargaining by child-care providers); and Janus AFSCME Council 31, 942 F.3d 352 (7th Cir. 2019) (union not liable for repayment of agency fees received under then-controlling precedent).
John graduated summa cum laude and first in his class from the University of Michigan Law School (1987), where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Michigan Law Review. Following law school he clerked for Judge Harry T. Edwards of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. of the United States Supreme Court. He also holds a Ph.D. from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver (1976), as well as a B.A. in history from Elizabethtown College (1970), and has studied in addition at Marburg University and the Free University of Berlin, Germany, the University of Caen, France, and the University of Minnesota. Before attending law school, John taught political science at a small college in Colorado and directed foreign study programs in France and Germany.