The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police officers, teachers, and other public employees cannot be forced to pay dues or fees to support their unions.

By a 5-4 vote, the justices overturned a 41-year-old precedent and ruled that the 1st Amendment protects these employees from being required to support a private group whose views may differ from theirs, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The decision, in Janus vs. AFSCME, strikes down laws in California, New York, and 20 other mostly Democratic-leaning states that authorize unions to negotiate contracts that require all employees to pay a so-called fair share fee to cover the cost of collective bargaining.

 

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