Coming Soon: Big Win for Free Speech?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

In what could turn out to be very good news for freedom of speech, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in a case brought by a group of California teachers who are contesting a requirement that they subsidize public sector unions as a condition of employment:

The court's five Republican appointees strongly suggested they believe it is unconstitutional to force an objecting teacher from Orange County and millions like her to pay for union activities they do not support. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy described the mandatory fees as "coerced speech" that violates the 1st Amendment.
George Will recently commented on the case, fleshing out its historical background and significance, noting that :
Interestingly, the 10 California teachers do not stress that they are conscripted into funding such direct, overt and explicit political activity. Rather, they make the more lethal (to public-sector unions' power) argument that even the use of their fees to fund core union activities such as collective bargaining constitutes a "multihundred-million-dollar regime of compelled" -- hence unconstitutional -- "political speech."
Will was careful to note that this would be a major reversal by the court, and I duly temper my optimism. That said, I would be ecstatic over a win for freedom of speech, particularly of such magnitude, in this day and age.

-- CAV

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