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The contributors to the Consumer Law & Policy blog are lawyers and law professors who practice, teach, or write about consumer law and policy. The blog is hosted by Public Citizen Litigation Group, but the views expressed here are solely those of the individual contributors (and don't necessarily reflect the views of institutions with which they are affiliated). To view the blog's policies, please click here.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

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We’re always on the go trying to accomplish so much, aren’s we? Getting groceries, cleaning the house, mowing the lawn - there’s always something. It’s so easy to get caught up in everyday life that we forget how simple it can be to bring cheer to ourselves and others.

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Thanks for keeping this important issue in the limelight, where it should be.

Dave Oedel

Steve Horwitz

Support for the consitutionality of mandatory insurance can be analogized to "Fair Share" litigation, where the Supreme Court has turned backed First Amendment challenges to compulsory payments to a labor union as exclusive bargaining representative. The Supreme Court's decision in Communications Workers v. Beck, 487 U.S. 735 (1988, summarize the Supreme Court line of opinions:

"Congress intended to prevent utilization of union security agreements for any purpose other than to compel payment of union dues and fees. Thus Congress recognized the validity of unions' concerns about 'free riders,' i. e., employees who receive the benefits of union representation but are unwilling to contribute their fair share of financial support to such union, and gave unions the power to contract to meet that problem while withholding from unions [*28] the power to cause the discharge of employees for any other reason." Radio Officers v. NLRB, 347 U.S. 17, 41 (1954."

"'In Machinists v. Street, 367 U.S. 740 (1961), the Court concluded "that § 2, Eleventh contemplated compulsory unionism to force employees to share the costs of negotiating and admini-stering collective agreements, and the costs of the adjustment and settlement of disputes," but that Congress did not intend 'to provide the unions with a means for forcing employees, over their objection, to support political causes which they oppose.' 367 U.S., at 764. Construing the statute in light of this legislative history and purpose, we held that although § 2, Eleventh on its face authorizes the collection from nonmembers of "periodic dues, initiation fees, and assessments . . . uniformly required as a condition of acquiring or retaining membership" in a union, 45 U. S. C. 152 . . .'"

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