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A years-long process by California teachers to free themselves of the yoke of mandatory dues fees even when the teachers refused to join the unions came up one justice short at the Supreme Court. That justice, of course, was the late Antonin Scalia, who would have almost certainly chosen to affirm the First Amendment and property rights of the plaintiffs. Instead, a 4-4 split at the Supreme Court on Friedrichs v California Teachers Association has the impact of affirming the lower court ruling that kept the requirement to make those payments in place:
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday split 4-4 on a conservative legal challenge to a vital source of funds for organized labor, affirming a lower-court ruling that allowed California to force non-union workers to pay fees to public-employee unions.
The court, shorthanded after the Feb. 13 death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and evenly divided with four liberal and four conservative members, left intact a 1977 legal precedent that allowed such fees, which add up to millions of dollars a year for unions.