Opening Brief Filed in Friedrichs

Published September 4th, 2015 -  - 09.04.151


Earlier today, counsel for petitioners filed their opening brief in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association.

According to petitioners, fair-share arrangements create a “regime of compelled political speech [that] is irreconcilable with [the Supreme] Court’s decisions in every related First Amendment context, as well as its recent recognition of ‘the critical First Amendment rights at stake’ in such arrangements” (citing Knox v. SEIU). They further contend that “[t]he logic and reasoning of this Court’s decisions [in Knox and Harris v. Quinn] have shattered the legal foundation of its approval of such compulsion in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education — a decision that was questionable from the start, as Justice Powell argued persuasively in his separate opinion.” Accordingly, petitioners urge the Court to “discard” Abood as a “jurisprudential outlier.”

Petitioners also ask the Court — “[r]egardless of whether [it] overrules Abood” — to “require that public employees affirmatively consent before their money is used to fund concededly political speech by public-sector unions.” Petitioners claim that the “Court’s longstanding refusal to ‘presume acquiescence in the loss of fundamental rights’ requires affirmative consent” (citing Knox).

Again, the full brief is available here. The case will likely be heard “early next year.”

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