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0 comments | June 14, 2007 | 9:39 AM | posted by Ryan

The U.S. Supreme Court said HB 2079’s changes to .760 did not affect its decision, nor the applicability of the ruling in Washington state. Scalia wrote that injuries occurred under the old law, that the old law was constitutional, and the WEA should still be subject to the fines for intentionally violating the law.

“Washington has since amended §760 to codify a narrower interpretation of ‘use’ of agency-shop fees than the interpretation adopted below by the state trial court that passed on that question. … As respondent concedes, however, id., at 3, these cases are not moot. … [I]t still matters whether the Supreme Court of Washington was correct to hold that that version was inconsistent with the First Amendment. Our analysis of whether §760’s affirmative-authorization requirement violates the constitutional rights of respondent is not affected by the amendment….” (Supreme Court ruling, page 3)

The U.S. Supreme Court remanded the decision back down to the trial court for implementation. When the lower court re-imposes its earlier judgment, it will have to determine how HB 2079’s changes should be applied.

As we said before, HB 2079 merely ensured that .760 stays embroiled in litigation. Attorney General Rob McKenna (AG) fully expects this to happen also. When legislators were considering changing the law, the AG wrote a letter listing the reasons why he believes the law may be unconstitutional and eventually struck down (the court ruled in Street and Abood that the accounting procedure HB 2079 implements is unconstitutional).

If a court eventually strikes HB 2079’s changes to .760, the law will revert back to its original form and the injunction, which gave detailed instructions on how the WEA was to comply with the law, will be in effect.

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