|| In Washington State, teachers who choose not to belong to the Washington Education Association (WEA) must pay “agency shop fees” for the WEA’s collective bargaining services. Although the WEA also supports political and ideological causes, under state law it may not use agency shop fees of a nonmember unless he affirmatively authorizes the use of his fees. Thus, it is not his responsibility to opt out of the union’s political activities but, instead, the union’s responsibility to acquire affirmative authorization from him in order to use his fees for political purposes.
The WEA, however, does not acquire the affirmative authorization of nonmembers; instead, it assumes that nonmembers consent to the WEA’s use of their fees for political purposes unless they opt out. The State of Washington sued the WEA; the trial court ruled in favor of the State. An appellate court reversed, holding the Washington law violated the First Amendment rights of the WEA. The Washington Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court’s ruling.
The State of Washington sought U.S. Supreme Court review on June 14, 2006; the Supreme Court granted certiorari on September 26, 2006.
On November 8, 2006, MSLF filed its amicus curiae brief. Oral arguments took place on January 10, 2007.