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The Supreme Court’s Single-sentence Finding on Friedrichs

March 29, 2016

On March 29, 2016, the US Supreme Court rendered a decision on the case of Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association. 

Here is the full text of the Court’s judgment:


The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.

What “judgement” was “affirmed”?

In short, the Court’s 4-4 tie affirmed the right of unions to both 1) charge “fair share” fees to non-union members who benefit from union activities and 2) require public employees to choose to opt out of paying such fees (as opposed to having employees “opt in” to pay the fees).

As noted in my January 17, 2016, post on the issue:

On the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) blog, attorney and blog editor Amy Howe offers the following in her January 11, 2016, entry:

For nearly forty years, it has been settled that, although public employees who don’t join a union cannot be required to pay for the union’s political activities, they can be charged an “agency” or “fair share” fee to pay for other costs that the union incurs – for example, for collective bargaining. After over an hour of oral arguments today, public-employee unions are likely very nervous, as the Court’s more conservative Justices appeared ready to overrule the Court’s 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education and strike down the fees. …

The case itself concerns two issues:

Issue: (1) Whether Abood v. Detroit Board of Education should be overruled and public-sector “agency shop” arrangements invalidated under the First Amendment; and (2) whether it violates the First Amendment to require that public employees affirmatively object to subsidizing nonchargeable speech by public-sector unions, rather than requiring that employees affirmatively consent to subsidizing such speech.

The late Hon. Anthony Scalia was considered the “wild card” in the Court’s upcoming Friedrichs decision. Since the current predominately-Republican Congress has made clear its intention to wait until after the 2016 Presidential election to approve a high-court replacement for Scalia, the 4-4 outcome of Friedrichs was largely a given.

Thus, the Friedrichs case has been decided.

We will see how long it takes the moneyed, anti-union folk to fashion another case.

calendar cash


Coming June 2016 from TC Press:


school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Stay tuned.



Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.

She also has a second book, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

From → Litigation

  1. This is a great victory for public education, for the kids in our public schools, for teachers, and for unions. Cheers!

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