On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled against the SEIU and said unions must let nonmembers object to unexpected fee increases that all workers are required to pay in a closed-shop, Fox News reported.
In a lopsided 7-2 decision, the Justices overturned the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Knox v. SEIU, a case dealing with coercive union dues collected from non-members that are used for political purposes.
Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg joined the majority in the case, but wrote a separate concurrence.
Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan dissented.
Fox News reported that the seven justices “ruled for Dianne Knox and other nonmembers of the Service Employees International Union’s Local 1000, who wanted to object and opt out of a $12 million special assessment the union required from its California public sector members.”
Stephen Hayward at Powerline called it “an important blow against labor unions,” but Townhall’s Guy Benson said the ruling “may not be the sweeping loss for the government sector unions that some conservative would like to think it is,” since it is limited to nonmembers and “focuses on a squabble over proper notification of special political dues.”
Amy Ridenour wrote at her National Center Blog that the ruling is a victory for free speech against a “tyrannical union.”
“A close connection exists between this Nation’s commitment to self-government and the rights protected by the First Amendment,” wrote Justice Alito, citing Brown v. Hartlage.
“The government may not prohibit the dissemination of ideas it disfavors, nor compel the endorsement of ideas that it approves… And the ability of like-minded individuals to associate for the purpose of expressing commonly held views may not be curtailed,” he added.
“When a State establishes an ‘agency shop’ that exacts compulsory union fees as a condition of public employment, ‘[t]he dissenting employee is forced to support financially an organization with whose principles and demands he may disagree.’ …This form of compelled speech and association imposes a ‘significant impingement on First Amendment rights.’”