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0 comments | January 22, 2007 | 1:46 PM | posted by Victor

More goodness from the oral arguments transcript:

JUSTICE KENNEDY: You want us to consider this case as if the First Amendment rights of non-union members were not involved? (WEA attorney John West)
MR. WEST: Absolutely -- absolutely not, Justice Kennedy. We recognize -
JUSTICE KENNEDY: But that's been your whole argument so far.
MR. WEST: Absolutely not. I'm sorry, Justice Kennedy, but that's certainly not what I intend to be saying. We recognize that the non-members have First Amendment rights. We also recognize that those rights are protected by the Hudson procedures which the union uses. The non-members have the absolute right to prevent the use of their funds not only for this kind of electoral speech but for any kind of political ideological speech and other nonchargeable activities with which they disagree simply by sending in a letter.
JUSTICE STEVENS: So it's a First Amendment right that is waived by failing to make a timely objection.
MR. WEST: Well, it's not that a right is waived. What it is -
JUSTICE STEVENS: It's gone under your theory. P38-39

JUSTICE ALITO: Explain to me the thinking of somebody who chooses not to join, the 5 percent who choose not to join, and yet they would like to make this contribution. Now maybe there's some, but what would be the thinking of such a person? P 40

JUSTICE ALITO: I still don't understand the thinking of these hypothetical people. If I'm a union member, I get various benefits. If I choose not to be a union member, I don't get those benefits. Why would I choose to give up the benefits of union membership and yet want to allow the union to spend my money for its political purposes? P 42

The union never provided a good answer to Justice Alito's question. Maybe the union should write a book about their difficulties.

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