As the nation and official Washington prepared to mourn the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, watchers of the high court began to assess the immediate impact of his death on several pending cases whose decisions might have had momentous political implications.
Among these is Friedrichs v. California Teacher’s Association, set to have been a landmark case regarding the mandatory collection of union dues and their use for political purposes. The ruling could have meant the death knell of collective bargaining and the political might of America’s unions.
After oral arguments in the case in January, The Washington Post indicated the court’s conservative majority, including Scalia, were leaning to rule against the unions ability to collect mandatory dues.
But Scalia’s passing – and the news that the Republic-led Senate will likely not confirm an Obama nominee — means such cases could up with 4-4 decisions. Lacking a majority, the lower court’s rulings will stand.
In the Friedrichs case, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled in favor of the teacher’s union.