High Court Weighs Student Fee Case Using Foundation Precedents
Public universities dump mandatory fees into radical campus groups

September/October 1999 Issue

Washington, D.C. - The United States Supreme Court will decide this fall whether students at public universities can be compelled to pay "student activity fees" which are spent by far-out campus political groups to which the students object.

Brought by five law students at the University of Wisconsin, the high-profile constitutional case rests squarely on legal principles established by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation over the past 25 years.

The University of Wisconsin students, who describe themselves as conservatives and Christians, objected to financially supporting the activities of 18 campus organizations that received cash grants from the student government.

After the students won their suit in U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the University of Wisconsin appealed Board of Regents v. Southworth to the U.S. Supreme Court. Arguments in the case are scheduled for the fall 1999 term.

University officials demand students to fund campus extremists

Echoing the militant forced-dues demands of union officials around the country, the University brazenly argues that all students should be compelled to support political speech - regardless of its objectionable content - as a condition of enrollment in the public university.

However decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, the ruling will have a sweeping impact on virtually every public university in America. It's no secret that public universities routinely pour mandatory student fees into the coffers of ideological campus groups ranging from the radical Democratic Socialist club to the militant Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Student Union.

Building upon the firm bedrock of Foundation-won Supreme Court victories such as Abood v. Detroit Board of Education and Lehnert v. Ferris Faculty Association, the Wisconsin students hope to expand the impact of a fundamental American principle articulated so eloquently by Thomas Jefferson more than 200 years ago: "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinion which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical."

Right to Work attorneys to weigh in at High Court

In addition to the establishment of the Supreme Court precedent upon which these student freedoms depend, the Foundation will have another role. Foundation attorneys intend to submit a friend of the Court brief in support of the arguments for freedom.

The purpose of the Foundation's brief will be to make sure that the court does not mistakenly drift into rulings which undercut victories won by the Foundation for working people beginning in 1977.

"The Foundation's loyal supporters should be proud that their steadfast support is not only helping the many victims of compulsory unionism abuses but also helping to secure freedom from all forms of government-sanctioned coercion," said Rex Reed, Executive Vice President and Legal Director of the Foundation.

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