November 6, 2015
By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel
This term, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a lawsuit intended to decimate public-sector unions by eliminating their right to collect “fair-share fees” and possibly even dues from people they are required to represent.
The group that’s trying to overturn the precedent set by the Court’s unanimous decision in 1977’s Abood v. Detroit Board of Education is the Center for Individual Rights, a far-right law group that is largely financed by Charles and David Koch and organizations in their network.
CIR, founded in 1989, has also brought cases to the high court challenging affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Several groups directly linked to the Koch brothers have made grants to CIR, according to the Center for Media and Democracy, and the group also receives money from the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation—whose president, Michael W. Grebe, chaired Scott Walker’s gubernatorial campaign. The Kochs also directly or indirectly fund the Cato Institute, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Fund, and the Mackinac Center in Michigan, which all filed amicus briefs in favor of the Friedrichs plaintiffs. Read more