Split court ruling favors unions - for now

Wednesday, March 30, 2016
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

lawsuit gavel with moneyLabor unions are celebrating a win at the U.S. Supreme Court but the teachers who lost the case may get another chance in the future.

Public school teachers in California sued over so-called "fair share fees," arguing the fees violate their First Amendment rights because they are forced to pay union dues while disagreeing with its positions.

Labor officials have argued the existence of unions could be threatened if workers are allowed to get all the benefits of representation without at least paying fees to cover the costs of collective bargaining.

Antonin Scalia 2After three-year court fight, a tie vote from the Supreme Court on Tuesday handed a win to labor unions.

Hans von Spakovsky, a former Justice Department attorney now working for The Heritage Foundation, says the late Antonin Scalia would have sided with his fellow conservatives to scrap the fees.

Regardless, Spakovsky tells OneNews-Now that Tuesday's 4-4 ruling does not set a legal precedent for cases involving unions and fees.

"It simply means that the lower court decision, which in this case is only the 9th Circuit, will stand," says von Spakovsky. "Now this doesn't prevent folks from bringing a case again in the 9th Circuit, or bringing a case in other parts of the country, if and when we get a ninth justice."

von Spakovsky, Hans (Heritage)The mandatory fees, which amount to approximately $600 annually, are taken from non-union teachers per California law, a Reuters story explained.

Many Senate Republicans have vowed to stop the nomination process for a Supreme Court justice. They'd rather leave it up to the November election and have the next president nominate someone to replace Scalia.

OneNewsNow asked Spakovsky if the union fee case is one a Supreme Court nominee should be asked about.

"Absolutely," he replies, "because questioning them about this case will be very revealing about what they believe about political speech and about the First Amendment."

Meanwhile, he notes this case does not impact private sector unions.

"This only had to do with public sector unions and that has not changed," says von Spakovsky.

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