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February 13, 2016

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Justice Antonin Scalia Dies, Several Cases Turned Upside Down

by David Urhausen

Today, Justice Antonin Scalia, the most vocal conservative on a conservative Supreme Court, died at the age of 79.  There are many implications for Supreme Court cases that have already been heard and cases that are upcoming.  It is expected it will take quite some time for President Obama and United States Senate to decide on the next justice.

We can expect 4-4 decisions in the meantime, with stalemates between the Court’s liberal and conservative wings.  This is a big deal for public sector unions.  Friedrichs v. the California Teachers Association, which has already been argued to the Court, is now expected to end in a 4-4 tie.  In the event of a tie, the decision of the Circuit Court stands.  In the case of Friedrichs, the 9th Circuit ruled that fair share fees were legal.  It appears that public sector unions will be able to continue collecting fair share fees for union activities that benefit all workers, like collective bargaining.  At least for now, the right for working people to stand together and organize appears safe.

Friedrichs is just one major case that has been turned upside down by Scalia’s death.  There are several other important cases whose outcomes may change from what they were expected to be just one day ago.  These include cases on affirmative action, birth control, immigration, abortion and redistricting.  Whether you agreed or disagreed with Justice Scalia, the influence he wielded on American law cannot be denied.

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. ross gomez
    Feb 15 2016

    The highest court in the land is now divided equally between Democratic and Republican appointees.

    And THIS will become very clear in the days ahead.

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