Union Dues Case Snakes Through Ninth Circuit

Lead Counsel Michael Carvin filed two urgent motions in Friedrichs v. CTA intended to speed the case through the Ninth Circuit as quickly as possible.  As Carvin’s team has made clear from the outset of the case, Mrs. Friedrichs and her co-plaintiffs cannot prevail before the lower federal courts because doing so would require overruling prior Supreme Court cases, notably Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.  Only the Supreme Court has the authority to overrule its own precedent.

Accordingly, the Jones Day team urged the district court, and now, the Court of Appeals, to decide the case on the basis of the written pleadings.  Since the lower courts lack the authority to decide the case any way but in accord with existing precedent, there is no legal basis for any lower court to conduct discovery, hold a trial, or conduct oral argument.  The proper course is to decide the case on the basis of existing law, which is clear.

Every day that the lower courts retain the case compounds the denial of the First Amendment rights of Mrs. Friedrichs and thousands of other public employees who are required to pay dues and fees to unions with which they fundamentally disagree.  Accordingly, Carvin’s filings urge the Ninth Circuit to act quickly to get the case to the Supreme Court — the only court that can vindicate the constitutional right of public employees to decide for themselves whether to support their union.