Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an illegal Service Employees International Union (SEIU) political fee charged to California state workers without notice and opportunity to opt out.
And now for the first time, the Court is requiring union officials to obtain affirmative consent from workers before they increase union dues and fees or slap workers with "special assessments" for union boss political spending.
Not only is this Foundation victory a victory for the First Amendment principles of free speech and free association, but Justice Samuel Alito acknowledged the tension the Court has created by allowing Big Labor to get away with so much for so long.
The very fact that a five-member majority of the U.S. Supreme Court openly questioned Big Labor's incredible power to force workers info forced-dues payments suggests Big Labor has overplayed its hand and the Court may be willing to hear more cases to reconsider some of its pro-Big Labor precedents and possibly even freeing workers from the shackles of forced unionism. Via the Wall Street Journal:
Writing for a five-member majority, however, Justice Samuel Alito raises larger questions about compulsory union dues and individual rights. Shouldn't the people who choose not to join a union, he asks, have to opt into political and ideological activities that they may presumably dispute—rather than opt out? "Which side should bear the risk?" he continues. "The answer is obvious: the side whose constitutional rights are not at stake."
Thus Knox may provide an opening to revisit some of the Court's precedents that force people to subsidize political views or escapades contrary to their values—not to mention the First Amendment. Stay tuned.