Of the many cases affected by the untimely passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, no case had more far-reaching First Amendment potential than Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. One of the most anticipated cases during the October 2015 term, the case required the Court to determine whether it would accede to public school teachers’ request and overrule Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. Abood arose as a sort of First Amendment aberration in 1977, holding that public employees could be forced to pay unions compulsory agency fees as a condition of employment. [Read More]
On June 28th, after previously splitting 4-4 on the case, the Supreme Court declined a Petition to Rehear Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which involved a First Amendment challenge to laws requiring non-union public employees to pay agency fees to unions. The case is over and for now, agency fees remain in place in 25 states. Like many other First Amendment cases raised in the past few years, this case was – and still is – derided in the media and by its legal opponents as a thinly veiled conservative attempt to “weaponize” the First Amendment as a vehicle to advance conservative policies.
Truth be told, there is a trend to look at First Amendment issues through a partisan lens – but conservatives aren’t behind it. [Read More]
With the death of Justice Scalia, most Court watchers expected a 4-4 split in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association—the attack on compelled payment of union dues by public school teachers. The Court announced its tie vote on Tuesday, March 29, stating only “the judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.” For the time being, public employees in California and elsewhere will be compelled to finance the political activities of their unions. [Read More]