High court revives suit over how public schools are funded

High court revives suit over how public schools are funded

Pennsylvania's highest court on Thursday revived a lawsuit that claims the state is failing in its obligation to students, a case that could eventually have a dramatic effect on the shape of public education in the state.

Conservatives across America who now are being forced to pay dues to their employer's unions to fund the left-leaning activities of their organized labor leaders - even speech with which they decidedly disagree - are getting another chance to escape that burden.

"People shouldn't be forced to surrender their First Amendment right to decide for themselves what organizations they support just because they decide to work for the state, their local government or a public school", he added.

The issue concerns something that deeply divided the court in 2016: whether non-members of public sector unions can be required to pay so-called "fair share" fees germane to collective bargaining. Non-members can then seek a refund of the portion the union spent on lobbying and activities unrelated to collective bargaining or contract administration. "The merits of the case, and 40 years of Supreme Court precedent and sound law, are on our side".

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the largest public employee union in IL and the one at the center of the lawsuit, called the case "yet another example of corporate interests using their power and influence to launch a political attack on working people and rig the rules of the economy in their own favor".

"This case is yet another example of corporate interests using their power and influence to launch a political attack on working people and rig the rules of the economy in their own favor", Lee Saunders, president of AFSCME, as the government-worker union is known.

The case stems from a fight between Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and public-sector unions over his 2015 executive order to stop the fees. Anticipating a legal challenge, Rauner also filed a federal lawsuit seeking to have his decision declared legal and hoping to bring the issue to the Supreme Court.

Now the Supreme Court will get a chance to review that ruling. Around the same time, a federal judge dismissed Rauner from a parallel case, saying he lacked standing to challenge public unions in his official capacity because he had "no personal interest at stake".

That case, Friedrichs v. California Teacher's Association, was over the approximately $650 each teacher in California has to pay the union, despite the fact the union's political statements and bargaining activities may be in direct violation of any individual teacher's speech rights.

Litigants are being represented by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the Liberty Justice Center-two institutions financed by some of Americas wealthiest conservative-benefactor families, including the Kochs, the Waltons, and the Coors families. To put it another way, conservatives argue that nonmembers who benefit from a public-sector union's collective-bargaining efforts have a constitutional right to be "free riders".

The case will be heard this fall with a decision expected by late June 2018. The death of Scalia left the court without a majority, leading to the split decision.