SCOTUS likely to rule compulsory taxation violates First Amendment

This is a crazy case. How can they even consider it? But oral arguments are today, and apparently the court is likely to rule that people can opt out of paying their federal taxes. Here’s Alito in a prior ruling, explaining why:

“Because the U.S. government takes many positions that have powerful political and civic consequences, compulsory taxes constitute a form of compelled speech and association that imposes a significant impingement on First Amendment rights,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the majority in 2012 in one of the cases.

Just kidding. the SCOTUS isn’t  going to ban mandatory taxes, they’re going to ban mandatory union dues. Alito’s real quote is here:

“Because a public-sector union takes many positions during collective bargaining that have powerful political and civic consequences, the compulsory fees constitute a form of compelled speech and association that imposes a significant impingement on First Amendment rights,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the majority in 2012 in one of the cases.

The NYT has more on the Friedrichs case here. Currently UAUO faculty and SEIU staff who don’t join their unions must pay “fair-share” fees (about 80% of dues) to cover the union’s cost of bargaining and enforcing the labor contract that they benefit from. If the Supremes rule against this practice, probably in June, public employee unions will be subject to the same sort of free-riding behavior that the government would face if people could opt-out of paying their taxes.

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