Supreme Court’s Deadlock Underscores Scalia’s Absence

Date: April 01, 2016 Last Edit: June 03, 2016

The high court’s ruling regarding union fees doesn’t bode well for small business.

The passing of Justice Antonin Scalia continues to loom over the Supreme Court.

In Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a group of California teachers sued the state’s teachers’ union for requiring them to pay union fees even though they declined to join. The Supreme Court voted and deadlocked 4-4 on March 29, which now means all nonunion public employees will have to continue to pay union fees—a “major victory” for organized labor, as The New York Times reported. 

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The decision is bad news for small biz, said Karen Harned, executive director of the NFIB Small Business Legal Center.

“Forcing public employees to finance union activities even when they disagree with those activities is an obvious violation of the First Amendment,” she said.

The violation threatens all businesses—not just teachers, Harned added. 

“Government unions exert tremendous pressure on public officials to increase spending and raise taxes,” she said. “That hurts the small businesses that pay the taxes.”

Scalia’s presence very likely would have shifted the outcome in favor of small business groups.

“During January’s oral arguments, there appeared to be a narrow 5-4 majority on the court to overturn the precedent, a 1977 case called Abood v. Detroit Board of Education that allowed such contracts,” The Washington Examiner reported

This case—the second to be deadlocked since Scalia’s passing—underscores how important the next Supreme Court appointee will be, Harned told the Examiner. “People on both sides agree on that.”

Read more about why the next Supreme Court appointee is going to be crucial to small business:

NFIB President & CEO: Judge Garland Is Bad for Small Business 

Small Business Reacts to SCOTUS Nominee

Garland v. Small Business

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