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0 comments | October 25, 2006 | 11:33 AM | posted by Mike Reitz

The Orange County Register editorial page calls for SCOTUS to reverse the Washington state ruling.

A fundamental American freedom is being able to spend – or not spend – one's own money on political campaigns, for persons or initiatives. Money forcibly taken from a person to support a candidate or initiative that the person opposes is a form of tyranny.

The Register does a good job of explaining the case details.

At issue are teachers who are not members of the WEA, and whether the WEA can take additional money from nonmembers' paychecks to be used for political purposes. Under Prop. 134, this is not allowed. Instead, a nonunion teacher must "affirmatively authorize" use of the money for union political activities.

Michael Reitz, director and legal analyst for the Labor Policy Center of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, a conservative Washington state think tank that is helping the workers, told us that Supreme Court case law already allows a nonunion employee to opt out of the use of political dues for political purposes by a public or private union. But the employee must take the first action, requesting a refund of the money.

Prop. 134, if upheld, would reverse the process, making the union ask nonunion employees first if their money can be used for political purposes. This is important because many employees simply don't realize that the money is being deducted from their paychecks.

Initiative 134 was the ballot measure passed by 72 percent of Washington voters in 1992 that implemented the "affirmative authorization" requirement.

Coercion should play no role in raising money for political campaigns.


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