In another edition of “Why The Supreme Court Matters” we turn to an unexpected – and MAJOR – victory for public unions today.

In a tie 4-4 decision the Supreme Court deadlocked and handed organized labor a gift. The non-decision prevents the crippling of public unions to collect fees from workers who chose not to join.

The case was brought by ten teachers in California, and in January the court’s conservative majority seemed destined to go against labor on First Amendment grounds. It would have affected millions of government workers and weakened public-sector unions.

It was a Republican dream, and even labor leaders were bracing for the worst.

Then Justice Antonin Scalia died. The fifth conservative vote was gone.

Today’s ruling keeps collective bargaining and mandatory union dues in place.

It demonstrates, once again, how important a philosophical majority means on the nations highest court.

President Obama has nominated a moderate judge, Merrick Garland, for Scalia’s seat. Thus far Republicans say they will not hold hearings until next year.

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