The U.S. Supreme Court poked a hole in the sails of public sector labor unions Monday in a ruling foes of forced unionization see as foundational for a later, larger triumph.
Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority in Harris v. Quinn, found Illinois cannot force taxpayer-subsidized home health care providers to pay union dues.
Pam Harris, the lead plaintiff, argued an Illinois requirement that she pay union dues violated her First Amendment rights. A five-justice majority agreed, overturning lower court decisions.
"If we accepted Illinois' argument, we would approve an unprecedented violation of the bedrock principle that, except perhaps in the rarest of circumstances, no person in this country may be compelled to subsidize speech by a third party that he or she does not wish to support," Alito wrote.