Earlier today, the US Supreme Supreme Court split 4-4 on the Friedrichs case, leaving the lower court decision undisturbed. At issue was whether teachers should be required to pay union fees. Not at issue was paying for the union’s political activities, which was previously decided (members don’t have to).

A reader asked what supporters of Friedrichs were saying about the decision. Here are “expert opinions” from the conservative Heartland Institute, which opposes unions.

“Heartland Education Experts React to Decision in
Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

On Tuesday, March 29, the United States Supreme Court issued a one-sentence ruling in the case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.” The 4–4 tie from the Supreme Court means the lower court ruling remains intact, compelling public employees to pay union agency shop dues even if they do not belong to the union.

The following statements from education experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact New Media Specialist Donald Kendal at dkendal@heartland.org and 312/377-4000.

“The ramifications of Justice Scalia’s death are seen early in this Court session with the continued protection of public-sector unions. Non-union members will continue to be forced to pay for the political agenda of union bosses. This case should be reheard once a new justice is seated. “

Lennie Jarratt
Project Manager, Education
The Heartland Institute

“After the death of Justice Scalia, it appeared Friedrichs was fated to a split decision, and this was indeed the case. While the plaintiffs plan on filing again, it is yet to be determined if the justices will take it up a second time, and what the makeup of the court will be at that time.

“Even though this split was almost assured, it is still a disappointment. Lovers of liberty can at least hang their hat on the knowledge that more and more states are ending mandatory dues collections on their own.”

Tim Benson
Policy Analyst
The Heartland Institute

“This Supreme Court decision, favoring the California Teachers Association, effectively forces teachers who declined union membership to be forced into it. In a blue state like California, these teachers have alternatives, but none of their options will be easy to exercise. Could they become non-unionized teachers in charter schools or private schools? Not easily. Would they move to a state, such as Wisconsin, that has a right-to-work law? Getting hired there might be easier but moving and the uprooting would be their challenge.”

David Anderson
Senior Fellow, Education
The Heartland Institute
The Heartland Institute is a 32-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.