The Supreme Court's 4-4 split decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which was issued today, upholds a lower court decision that permits public employee unions to assess fees on non-members who benefit from collective bargaining and union representation. The decision is a victory for working people, whose rights are protected by strong unions even if they themselves are not in a union.
It is also a reminder about the importance of the president's choice of the next Supreme Court justice, since the 4-4 split guarantees that another case attacking union security agreements will find its way to the Court before long.
A controversial resolution involving the legal challenge against President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration is slated to go up for a vote in the Republican-led U.S. House Thursday afternoon.
Under the resolution, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI,1) would have the power to file a Supreme Court amicus brief on behalf of his chamber opposing Obama's immigration orders. Ryan, who filed the resolution Monday, says the issue boils down to defending Article I of the Constitution, which defines the legislative branch's powers.
But House Democrats say the Republican effort is just a "political stunt."
"The vote today is a political stunt disguised as a legal brief, because the Republican majority sees a crass political opportunity to stand with the anti-immigration wing of their party," U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL,4) said on a morning conference call. "They keep saying, 'Well [GOP presidential frontrunner Donald] Trump doesn't represent us. He doesn't rep our views. He doesn't represent our values,' and now they want to know where Trump gets all his anti-immigrant, xenophobic ideas from. Try the House of Representatives."
Democrats vying for the 10th congressional district seat participated in a candidate meet-and-greet Friday with members of the small business community. Progress Illinois provides highlights from the event, hosted by the Small Business Advocacy Council in Waukegan.
The plaintiffs -- represented by the the Center for Individual Rights (CIR), a conservative public interest law firm -- argue that the mandatory fees, which support costs associated with collective bargaining, violate their First Amendment rights.
"Requiring teachers to pay these 'agency fees' assumes that collective bargaining is non-political," reads a posting on CIR's website. "But bargaining with local governments is inherently political. Whether the union is negotiating for specific class sizes or pressing a local government to spend tax dollars on teacher pensions rather than on building parks, the union's negotiating positions embody political choices that are often controversial."
The U.S. Supreme Court's new term starts Monday, and it could take up cases involving abortion, union fees, birth control coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act, affirmative action in higher education and state voting districts.