Here's Lyle. Both decisions from Alito. Harris is first.
In Harris, the Court refuses to extend Abood. These employees can't be required to contribute to unions.
This is a substantial obstacle to expanding public employee unions, but it does not gut them.
The Court does not overrule Abood. That opinion has questionable foundations, so we reverse to extend Abood to the situation here.
This case does not involve full-fledged public employees, the Court notes.
The four liberal Justices are the dissenters.
Kagan writes for the dissenters.
The Court recognizes a category of "partial public employees" that cannot be required to contribute union bargaining fees.
The majority opinion is 39 pages. The dissent is 25.
Justice Alito is still reciting from his majority opinion. Not yet clear whether Kagan will read from the bench. I don't believe she has before.
This is Harris v. Quinn, the public employee labor union.
It remains possible that in a later case the Court will overturn its prior precedent and forbid requiring public employees to contribute to union bargaining. But today it has refused to go that far. The unions have lost a tool to expand their reach. But they have dodged a major challenge to their very existence.
Lyle will have his report on the decision for us later today. We will also be hosting an online symposium on Harris (and another on Hobby Lobby). Check in throughout today and tomorrow for guest posts from Sam Bagenstos, John Eastman, Catherine Fisk, Charlotte Garden and others.
50,000 readers. Welcome, all.
Alito still announcing Harris.
The 2d and 3rd boxes both contain the same decision; 2 boxes to ease distribution to the press in the PIO room.
Harris occupied only the first box.
Alito still reciting from Harris.
Kagan dissent in Harris is strongly critical of dicta re Abood's supposed weaknesses.
apologies if we aren't answering your question or posting your comment. They are pouring in faster than we can read them.
Here is Hobby Lobby. No dissent in Harris
Closely held corporations cannot be required to provide contraception coverage.
RFRA applies to regulations that govern the activities of closely held for-profit corporations like Conestoga, HL and Mardel.
The Court says that the government has failed to show that the mandate is the least restrictive means of advancing its interest in guaranteeing cost-free access to birth control.
Justice Kennedy's concurring opinion says that the government could pay for the coverage itself, so that women receive it.
Here is a further attempt at qualification: This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to mean that all insurance mandates, that is for blood transfusions or vaccinations, necessarily fail if they conflict with an employer's religious beliefs.
Here is more qualification: It does not provide a shield for employers who might cloak illegal discrimination as a religious practice.