Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: First Amendment
  • Date Filed: June 30, 2015
  • Case #: 14-915
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Ninth Circuit (Pet.App.1a)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether union agency shop fees are a violation of the First Amendment?

In California, teachers are required to join a union or pay a fee to support collective bargaining. A teacher can opt out each year by affirmatively objecting to the fee. Petitioners argue that the union’s annual renewal requirement is in violation of the First amendment. Through ignorance or forgetfulness, teachers are compelled to support subsidized speech. Petitioners appeal the Ninth Circuit decision to uphold this law.

Petitioners ask the court to consider whether the First Amendment should invalidate “agency shops” and overrule Abood v. Detroit Bd. of Ed., 431 U.S. 209 (1977), and whether the First Amendment permits a requirement that public employees affirmatively object rather than affirmatively consent to subsidy of public sector unions non-chargeable speech.

Petitioners ask the Court to reconsider Abood, which Petitioners argue created an exception for speech in collective bargaining. Petitioners connect collective bargaining with political speech and argue that the exception in Abood contradicts established case law. Plaintiffs' ask that the petition for writ of certiorari be granted in order to consider California’s opt-out program.

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