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0 comments | December 07, 2006 | 8:20 AM | posted by Mike Reitz

The Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore writes today on the cases before the Supreme Court. "Should you pay for someone else's opinions?" he asks. "A teachers union think so."


State of the Unions
BY STEPHEN MOORE



SPOKANE, Wash.--Teachers unions are supposed to promote the financial interests of, well, teachers--but not in Washington state. Here, the Washington Education Association is fighting some 4,000 nonmember teachers who don't want their paychecks raided each year and used for political activities that they don't believe in. "The right of free speech is being trampled" by the union political spending, complains Scott Carlson, a business teacher in Spokane. "And that's a right I hold very precious."

Too bad the unions don't. The WEA derisively refers to teachers like Mr. Carlson who want their money back not as free-speech advocates but "dissidents." The goal is to squash these dissidents by overturning Initiative 134, a law--approved by 72% of Washington voters in 1992--that requires unions to obtain written approval from teachers before dues are spent on campaigns or candidates. Back in March, the unions got a surprising assist from the state Supreme Court, which ruled that the paycheck protection law places "too heavy" a burden on the free-speech rights of the union.

The case has now been bumped up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hear oral arguments in January--in what could be the most important First Amendment decision in years.



Read the column.

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