As they said they would, lawyers for nine California teachers filed a petition April 8 asking the Supreme Court to re-hear arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association when a new Justice is confirmed, according to a news release from the Center for Individual Rights, the public interest law firm that brought the case on behalf of the teachers. The teachers, who have opted-out of paying for the union’s political campaign activity, object to paying for collective bargaining work because they say that, too, is political and a violation of their First Amendment rights. Terry Pell, CIR’s president, said “We can’t leave this issue for another time. The Court has already agreed to decide this case and it should hold the case until it can issue a definitive decision. A tie is simple not good enough when it comes to fundamental issues like the First Amendment.” “An equally divided affirmance will only defer decision of these pressing questions for another day,” he continued, citing multiple pending cases that implicate the issues. “In the absence of a precedential ruling from this Court, at least one of those cases will almost certainly reach the Court in the next several years. Rather than defer this issue for resolution in some future case at some future time, the better and more efficient course would be to hold the case this Court has already agreed to decide until it is capable of issuing a decision.” A majority of the Court must decide to re-hear the case. This could happen with only eight members–if at least five of the eight agree—or the petition could be held until a new Justice is confirmed and he or she breaks the tie about whether or not to re-hear the case. CIR attached a copy of its petition to its release.
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