Ysursa v. Pocatello Education Association

555 U.S. 353, 129 S. Ct. 1093, 172 L.Ed.2d 770 (2009)

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Ysursa v. Pocatello Education Association

United States Supreme Court
555 U.S. 353, 129 S. Ct. 1093, 172 L.Ed.2d 770 (2009)

EL

Facts

Idaho state statutes allowed public employees to elect to have their union dues deducted from their paychecks but prohibited union political-action committees from using the funds. A group of unions representing Idaho public-education employees (the unions) (plaintiffs) sued a county prosecuting attorney, the Idaho secretary of state, and the Idaho attorney general (collectively, the Idaho state representatives) (defendants) in federal district court, alleging that this statute violated the unions’ First Amendment rights by singling out political speech for disfavored treatment. The unions argued that the statute was particularly problematic as applied at a city and local government level and dictated how local government entities could utilize payroll systems to help unions collect dues. The Idaho state representatives argued that Idaho had a legitimate interest in separating the operation of state governments, including local public offices, from partisan politics. The Idaho state representatives also argued that the statute did not obstruct free speech but merely declined to facilitate political speech. The federal district court struck down the statute, holding its application to local government employees was unconstitutional. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Roberts, C.J.)

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