While the rest of the country was tuned into The Trump Show playing before the Black Gate, Friedrichs vs. California, a plucky little court case with the power to unmake the Democratic Party, has finally reached Mount Doom.
In brief, public school teachers in California seek to invalidate state law requiring that non-union members must nevertheless pay the public teachers union fees for collective bargaining and related expenses. Those related expenses are fairly broad and include public relations campaigns on issues to be collectively bargained.
Overturning existing law altogether is much more difficult under the related principles of stare decisis and deference to precedent. But that’s what the Friedrichs Plaintiffs are looking for, and if they succeed the new rule – banning compelled contributions to any public union activity at all – would apply to every public union in the United States.
Compelled union dues are heart and muscle of the Democratic Party, since unions dominate the top Democratic political donors list. As Scott Walker demonstrated, give workers the chance to keep their own money and they flee unions in droves.
According the Legal Insurrection, oral arguments have been going extremely badly for unions. “The teachers [the anti-union side] seem to have at least five votes and likely seven. Depending how the decision is written the Court could even reach a unanimous decision holding that compelled contributions to public unions are unconstitutional.”
Without the iron group of unions, not only is the Democratic Party critically weakened, but a host of previously difficult reforms (public pension reform, school choice) suddenly become possible.
And there’s likely nothing Sauron can do about it…
(Metaphor blatantly stolen from Walter Russell Mead.)