News Release

U.S. Supreme Court to Review Idaho’s Ban on Payroll Deductions for Union Electioneering

High Court may secure right of states to prohibit at all governmental levels the practice of union payroll deductions for union electioneering

Washington, DC (March 31, 2008) – Today the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari and agreed to hear the case of Ysursa v. Pocatello Education Association, thus agreeing to review a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that limited the applicability of an Idaho state law banning payroll deductions for union Political Action Committees (PACs).

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Sutherland Institute, and Utah Taxpayers Association filed a joint amicus (“friend of the court”) brief urging the Supreme Court to take up the appeal filed by the Attorney General for the State of Idaho.

The lower U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruling argued that the payroll deduction ban should only apply to union payroll deductions at the state government level, and that local government bodies were independent political entities outside of the reach the state law.

But the joint amici brief pointed out that a ruling by the Ninth Circuit wrongly forces Idaho taxpayers to subsidize union political activities by offering valuable payroll deduction services to union officials.

Even more alarmingly, union lawyers could try to use the Ninth Circuit’s reasoning to launch fresh new attacks on state Right to Work laws as applied to local government bodies. The joint amici brief emphasized that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that unions have no constitutional right to collect union dues from non-union members, much less use payroll deduction privileges to do so.

In response to the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case, National Right to Work Vice President Stefan Gleason made the following remarks:

“We applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to revisit the activist ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Just like state governments, local governments should not act as bagmen for union political funds.

“Stripping union officials of their payroll deduction privileges is good public policy. In fact, the State of Idaho should have gone much further than it did – by banning outright the use of public facilities to collect any union funds whatsoever.”

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.

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