Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


Washington, DC—Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna will make his first appearance before the United States Supreme Court on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2007, to present the state’s argument in Washington v. Washington Education Association.

McKenna will ask the US Supreme Court to reverse a Washington State Supreme Court decision, ruling part of Washington’s voter-approved campaign finance law unconstitutional.

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether it is unconstitutional to require unions to have teachers, who are required to pay union fees but who are not union members, to affirmatively "opt-in" to have some of those fees spent on the union’s political activities.

Initiative 134, passed by 73 percent of Washington voters in 1992, required Washington labor organizations to obtain the "affirmative authorization" (opt-in) of non-members before the organization could spend the fees for the union's political contributions and expenditures to influence an election or to operate a political committee.

The WEA contends all it is required to do is allow non-members the option to "opt out" of having their fees used for political purposes.

In a 6-3 decision on March 16, 2006, the State Supreme Court struck down the portion of I-134 requiring the WEA to obtain affirmative authorization. The case will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on January 10.

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Contact: Janelle Guthrie, Attorney General’s Office Communications Director, (360) 584-3046