UPDATE: Public Sector Union Dues: Grappling with Fixed Stars and Stare Decisis (Part I) [June 27, 2018] [open pdf - 544KB]
"The Supreme Court long ago described the First Amendment's protection against compelled speech as a 'fixed star in our constitutional constellation.' This Term, the Court may decide whether it has steered too far from that shining precept in the area of public employee union dues (or agency fees) in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31. Specifically, the Court will consider whether to overrule its 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, in which the Court announced the basic test for determining the validity of 'agency shop' arrangements between a union and a government employer. Agency shop arrangements (sometimes called 'fair share' provisions) require employees to pay a fee to the union designated to represent their bargaining unit even if the employees are not members of that union. The Abood Court held that these arrangements do not violate the First Amendment insofar as the union uses the fees for 'collective bargaining activities' and not 'ideological activities unrelated to collective bargaining.' In its October 2015 Term, the full Court heard oral argument on whether to overrule Abood, but ultimately divided four-to-four on this question following the death of Justice Scalia. Now that Justice Gorsuch has joined the bench, it remains to be seen whether a majority of the Court will reaffirm Abood or chart a new course."
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10042
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