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First Amendment Library:
Christine O. Gregoire


The question in these cases is whether the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit erred in invalidating in its entirety a Washington statute aimed at preventing and punishing the publication of obscene materials.


The State of Maine requires government employees to pay a service fee to the local union that acts as their exclu sive bargaining agent even if those employees disagree with, and do not belong to, the union. This Court has held that, in principle, the government may require this kind of payment without violating the First Amendment. See, e.g., Railway Employes v. Hanson, 351 U. S. 225 (1956) (upholding such an arrangement as constitutional); Abood v. Detroit Bd. of Ed., 431 U. S. 209 (1977) (same); Lehnert v. Ferris Faculty Assn., 500 U. S. 507 (1991) (same). At the same time, the Court has considered the constitution ality of charging for various elements of such a fee, up holding the charging of some elements (e.g., those related to administering a collective-bargaining contract) while forbidding the charging of other elements (e.g., those related to political expenditures). Compare, e.g., Ellis v.


The State of Washington established the Promise Scholarship Program to assist academically gifted students with postsecondary education expenses. In accordance with the State Constitution, students may not use the scholarship at an institution where they are pursuing a degree in devotional theology. We hold that such an exclusion from an otherwise inclusive aid program does not violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.