[Ed. – Strong language]
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan in a scathing dissent on Wednesday accused her conservative colleagues of “weaponizing” the First Amendment after the court ruled public-sector unions can’t charge nonmembers a “fair-share” agency fee.
Reading from the bench, Kagan said the majority has chosen the winners by “turning the First Amendment into a sword and using it against workaday economic and regulatory policy.”
“Today is not the first time the court has wielded the First Amendment in such an aggressive way; just yesterday we saw another and it threatens not to be the last.”
In a 5-4 decision on Wednesday, the conservative wing ruled that extracting agency fees from non-consenting public-sector employees violates the First Amendment.
In reaching its decision, the court overturned a 1977 precedent in a case, known as Abood, that allowed public-sector unions to collect fees from nonunion members for nonpolitical activities like collective bargaining without violating their First Amendment right to free speech.