HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Professor of Public Policy, HKS; Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government, FAS


‘Th’ Supreme Coort follows th’ election returns.” So said Mr. Dooley, the bartender created by cartoonist Finley Peter Dunne at the start of the 20th century. Those who follow the court today often say that nothing much has changed. Yet if the justices consider public opinion next term, it will be a straightforward decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case challenging the California “union shop” law that levies an agency fee on all teachers who refuse to join a union. Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, defends the law on the grounds that “unions have a right to collect a fair share from the people [they] represent” regardless of whether the people want to pay, so that the AFT can “ensure that we’re able to speak for all workers.” But teacher Rebecca Friedrichs, the plaintiff, contends that collective bargaining is political speech. Thus the union shop denies her constitutional right of free speech by using her money to speak for purposes with which she disagrees.


Peterson, Paul E., and Martin R. West. "Even Teachers are No Fans of Forced Union Payments." Wall Street Journal, 266.13, 7/16/2015, A11.