The U.S. Supreme Court decided against rehearing a case Tuesday that aimed to end mandatory union dues for all public-sector employees.
Rebecca Friedrichs and nine other teachers were on the verge of ending mandatory union dues for public-sector workers. The teachers looked likely to win but lost March 29 when the court came to a split decision, just weeks after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, believed to be the deciding vote. The teachers petitioned to have the case reheard but were denied.
“The petition for rehearing is denied,” the Supreme Court said in its decision. The teachers argued before the Supreme Court Jan. 11 that being required to fund union activities violated their right to free speech. They hoped to end compulsory union dues by reversing the 1977 case Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.
“We are greatly disappointed in today’s decision denying our petition for rehearing,” Lawyer Terry Pell said in a statement provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Today’s decision was not a decision on the merits of our case nor was it accompanied by an opinion. We continue to believe that forcing individuals to subsidize political speech with which they disagree violates the First Amendment.”
Pell serves as president of the Center for Individual Rights which helped bring the case to the Supreme Court.
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.
“While we are disappointed that Rebecca Friedrichs’ case will not be the one to end mandatory union dues for America’s public servants,” National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We expect that the Supreme Court will reconsider the constitutionality of forced unionism before too long.”
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.
The Supreme Court decision defaulted to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals because the justices were equally split four to four. A Supreme Court decision cannot be overturned, but since the final ruling defaulted to the lower-court it had a chance of being reheard.
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