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Mike Carvin, partner in the Firm's Issues & Appeals Practice, discusses the oral argument he presented to the U.S. Supreme Court on January 11, 2016. The case involves 10 teachers who are challenging the regime in California and 20 other states that says that even if a person is not a member of a union, he or she can be compelled to give the union money. Since the union is an advocacy organization with a specific viewpoint on controversial public issues, Mr. Carvin argued that this violates the First Amendment because an individual cannot be compelled to support an organization with which he or she disagrees or does not wish to subsidize.
The particular issue is that the union dues regime had been upheld in Abood, a Supreme Court decision from 1977. The Court agreed to reconsider whether that precedent should be overruled. Mr. Carvin also discusses the decision in Knox four years ago, which expressed doubt about the correctness of the analysis in Abood. The Firm partnered with the Center for Individual Rights, a public interest group, and came to represent the 10 teachers.
Mr. Carvin describes the oral argument, in which he presented the position that Abood cannot be squared with basic First Amendment principles and should be overruled.