September 26, 2006

Breaking News: Supreme Court Agrees to Hear New Election Law Case

Via SCOTUSBlog, comes news that the United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear Washington v. Washington Education Association, No. 05-1657 (cert petition, consolidated with 05-1589---petition not readily available [UPDATE: 05-1589 available here; other documents here].). The pertinent part of the Question Presented is the following: "Does the requirement in Wash. Rev. Code [section] 42.17.760 that nonmembers [of unions] must affirmatively consent (opt-in) before their fees may be used to support the union's political agenda violate the union's first amendment rights?"

My earlier coverage of this decision is here. I expect that the Supreme Court will answer the question presented in the negative, ruling that a state may set up a system whereby nonmembers of unions must affirmatively consent before the union can deduct money for political purposes. I was surprised by the original Washington state supreme court ruling holding that such a system violated the union's first amendment rights, in that it was not as narrowly tailored as an "opt-out" provision (whereby monies for political purposes are automatically deducted unless the nonmember asks that they not be deducted).

Posted by Rick Hasen at September 26, 2006 08:07 AM