The U.S. Supreme Court handed down four opinions today, leaving six cases for next week. They have not yet announced if there will be a second date for issuing opinions next week or if all will be handed down on Monday. Among the outstanding cases are the Health Care and Immigration cases.
Two significant cases First Amendment cases were issued today.
First, and very significant to this blog, is Knox v. SEIU (the union dues case). The normal rule in closed-shop states is that, when the annual dues notice is sent, the union must notify what portion of the dues is for union expenses and what portion is for lobbying-type expenses. Union members must then affirmatively opt-out of paying the lobbying portion. In this case, after the initial assessment, the union decided it needed an emergency assessment to respond to two ballot issues. By a
6 (5-1)-3 7(5-2)-2 vote, the Supreme Court found that, for such 100% political emergency assessments, that union members had to opt-in rather than opt out.
The second case is FCC v. Fox (the fleeting obscenities case). This case involved fines issued for "fleeting obscenities" on live broadcasts by Fox and ABC when those obscenieties occurred prior to the FCC issuing a rule clarifying that fines could be imposed for such fleeting obscenities. In an 8(7-1)-0 ruling, the Supreme Court held that it would violate due process to fine Fox and ABC for conduct occurring before the rule was clarified on the grounds that the prior rule was too vague. By making this ruling, the Supreme Court eliminated the need to address whether the current rule penalizing fleeting obscenities violates the First Amendment.