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Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 4-20-16 featuring Richard A. Epstein
Richard A. Epstein April 20, 2016

On March 29, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. A group of public school employees sued the California Teachers Association and various other entities, arguing that the agency shop arrangement itself--as well as the opt-out requirement--violated the First Amendment. The district court denied their claim and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed based on existing precedent and the 1997 Supreme Court decision Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. The two questions before the Supreme Court were (1) whether the Abood precedent should be overruled and public-sector “agency shop” arrangements invalidated under the First Amendment; and (2) whether it violates the First Amendment to require that public employees affirmatively object to subsidizing nonchargeable speech by public-sector unions, rather than requiring that employees affirmatively consent to subsidizing such speech.

In a one-sentence per curiam opinion, the judgment of the Ninth Circuit was affirmed by an equally divided Supreme Court, a 4-4 split.

To discuss the case, we have Richard A. Epstein, the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University School of Law and Professor Emeritus and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.
 

Supreme Court Splits 4-4 on Major Union Case -- Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association - Podcast

Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Podcast
Richard A. Epstein March 29, 2016

On Tuesday, March 29, the U.S. Supreme Court announced a 4-4 decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. The two questions presented were: (1) Whether the Abood precedent should be overruled and public-sector “agency shop” arrangements invalidated under the First Amendment; and (2) whether it violates the First Amendment to require that public employees affirmatively object to subsidizing nonchargeable speech by public-sector unions, rather than requiring that employees affirmatively consent to subsidizing such speech. What is the effect of the 4-4 decision? Are there other cases percolating in the circuit courts that might present the same or similar questions to the Court in the near future?

Featuring:

  • Prof. Richard A. Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University School of Law

Changes in Markets and Foreign Competitors?

Short Video with Richard Epstein
Richard A. Epstein January 29, 2016

Professor Richard Epstein, Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, continues to give an brief history of unions and collective bargaining -- focusing on changes in markets resulting from globalization and discussing the instance of unions in the Japanese automobile industry.

Labor Unions: History of Unions and Collective Bargaining

Short Video with Richard Epstein
Richard A. Epstein January 29, 2016

Professor Richard Epstein, Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, gives a brief history of unions and collective bargaining - beginning with the New Deal and the industrial age and running through some of the changes in our economy over the last 80 years.

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 1-13-16 featuring Richard Epstein
Richard A. Epstein January 13, 2016

On January 11, 2016, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. Under California law and existing Supreme Court precedent, unions can become the exclusive bargaining representative for the public school employees of their district and establish an “agency shop” arrangement requiring public school employees either to join the union or pay a fee to support the union’s collective bargaining activities. Although the First Amendment prohibits unions from compelling non-members to support activities unrelated to collective bargaining, in California non-members must affirmatively “opt out” to avoid paying for these unrelated or “nonchargeable” expenses.

Here a group of public school employees sued the California Teachers Association and various other entities, arguing that the agency shop arrangement itself--as well as the opt-out requirement--violated the First Amendment. The district court denied their claim and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed based on existing precedent and the 1997 Supreme Court decision Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.

The two questions now before the Supreme Court are: (1) Whether the Abood precedent should be overruled and public-sector “agency shop” arrangements invalidated under the First Amendment; and (2) whether it violates the First Amendment to require that public employees affirmatively object to subsidizing nonchargeable speech by public-sector unions, rather than requiring that employees affirmatively consent to subsidizing such speech.

To discuss the case, we have Richard A. Epstein, the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University School of Law and Professor Emeritus and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.