Dear Commons Community,
Since the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia over the weekend, there has been much speculation on the outcomes of the cases currently before the Court. One of these cases is Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, in which the plaintiffs argued that the Supreme Court’s 40 year precedent upholding the constitutionality of agency fees – or fair share fees – should be overruled. The full Court heard oral arguments in the case last month. The American Federation of Teachers, has argued that the Court should re-affirm that the payment of agency fees by nonmembers to support their fair share of the costs of collective bargaining is constitutional. The AAUP general counsel Risa Lieberwitz offered her analysis in a blog post today on Academe Blog, “The Future of Friedrichs in the Supreme Court. It is her opinion that:
“No one knows for sure what will happen next in the Supreme Court, but one likely possibility is that the remaining eight justices will decide the Friedrichs case, with the likely outcome of a 4-4 decision. A 4-4 split vote leaves the lower court decision intact – in this case, the federal appellate court decision that ruled against the constitutional challenge, based on the 1977 Supreme Court precedent of Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which upheld the constitutionality of agency/fair share fees in the public sector workplace.”
If this does come to pass as per Lierberwitz’s posting, it will be good news for public-sector labor unions.