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Court Case Against Mandatory Union Dues Not Completely Dead Yet

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The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to discuss during a meeting Thursday whether to retry a case that aims to end mandatory union dues for all public sector workers.

Rebecca Friedrichs and nine other teachers argued Jan. 11 that mandatory union payments violate their right to free speech. They hoped to end compulsory union dues by reversing the 1977 case Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. The court upheld the mandatory dues Mar. 29 by coming to a split decision. Now, the justices will consider a petition to rehear the case during the meeting.

“I don’t think they’re going to do anything,” New York University School of Law Professor Samuel Estreicher told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “It could be four votes to grant but they’re aren’t five votes to overturn the Ninth Circuit, in other words to reverse Abood.”

The Supreme Court decision defaulted to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals because the justices were equally split four to four. Justice Antonin Scalia was believed to be the deciding vote against required union payments, but he died Feb. 13. The composition of the court hasn’t changed since the decision, and there has been no indications anyone changed their vote.

“Unless there is some magic and the four conservative justices figure Trump is going to win the election so they might as well grant it, nothing is going to happen,” Estreicher continued. “Even if Trump wins the election, we will not know until November and the president still has that nomination out there. Its just highly unlikely.”

The California Teachers Association (CTA) is the union currently representing these teachers. It has noted mandatory union dues are a matter of fairness. Unions that get voted in as the exclusive representative for a workplace are required by law to represent all the workers regardless of whether they pay dues.

“I don’t think there is any chance they’ll do it because they’ll wait, this is such a hot button issue they’re not going to want to touch it until they see who the whole court is,” University of California, Berkeley School of Law lecturer David Rosenfeld told TheDCNF. “Why would the court, after dumping it four to four, put it back on their docket when its going to be four to four again.”

Friedrichs has said her union has often fought for political ends, the likes of which she fundamentally disagrees. She learned early on how hard it was to fire bad teachers strictly because of union policies.

A Supreme Court decision cannot be overturned, but since the final ruling defaulted to the lower-court, an appeal is possible but would be unlikely.

Judge Merrick Garland was nominated by the president to replace Scalia, but his nomination has hit a major setback. Senate Republicans have vowed to block any nominee until President Barack Obama is no longer president. The next president could be the deciding factor on whether the next justice makes the court more conservative or more liberal.

The Friedrichs legal team and the CTA did not respond to requests for comment by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

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