In early 2016, the US Supreme Court will hear the Friedrichs v. the California Teachers Association et al. case, a lawsuit that challenges the authority of the CTA and public-employee unions to collect mandatory "agency" fees. The Supreme Court will be ruling on whether Abood v. Detroit Board Education should be overruled and public-sector "agency" fees be invalidated under the First Amendment, and on whether it violates the First Amendment to require public employees to affirmatively object, rather than affirmatively consent, to subsidizing public-sector union speech (source).
In 1977, the Supreme Court ruled that it was legal in the public sector for unions to charge fees for "collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance adjustment purposes" in the case Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (source). The plaintiffs of Friedrichs v. CTA are hoping that the court overturns the Abood decision.
Friedrichs and the other plaintiffs argue that the agency fees violate their First Amendment rights because the CTA bargaining is "inherently political," and the CTA could be bargaining issues that certain teachers in the union don't agree with. According to the Center for Individual Rights, which represents the plaintiffs, "the union's negotiating positions embody political choices that are often controversial."
The defendants, the CTA and the state of California, argue that the state as an employer is well served to convey the views of workers and that loss of money from those who benefit from negotiations would threaten the union's ability to effectively represent employees (source).
This ties into our current unit on the judiciary system. Is it constitutional for the Supreme Court to reverse a prior decision? Disregarding constitutionality, is it morally right or wrong for the Supreme Court to reverse prior decisions? To what extent would the Supreme Court's ruling on this case be political vs legal?