The Supreme Court split 4-4 Tuesday on a challenge brought by public school teachers who objected to paying union dues, delivering a big win for the unions – in the first major case where the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s vote would have proved decisive.
The California teachers in the case had challenged a state law requiring non-union workers to pay “fair share” fees into the public-employee unions to cover collective bargaining costs.
The court, with its split decision, left in place a lower court ruling favoring the unions.
The result is an unlikely victory for organized labor after it seemed almost certain the high court would rule 5-4 to overturn a system in place nearly 40 years. The court is operating with only eight justices after the death of Scalia, who had been expected to rule against the unions.