Tuesday, August 28, 2007

San Leandro Teachers Ass'n v. Governing Board (Cal. Ct. App. - Aug. 28, 2007)

I kept reading this opinion expecting to find a dissent. In vain.

Too bad.

Justice Swager holds that Section 7054 of the Education Code, which generally bars school funds from being used to support particular candidates or ballot measures, operates to prohibit a school union from placing a brochure in the mailboxes of its member teachers at a school.

The teacher mailboxes are just sitting there. The brochures are paid for entirely by the union. The only thing that the mailboxes -- which are ordinarily used by the school -- do is to hold up the brochures and keep them from falling on the floor. That's it. It costs the school nothing for the brochures to be placed therein. But the Court of Appeal holds that this use nonetheless violates Section 7054.

Justice Swager says that Section 7054 permits the union to place the brochures on a desk. Or a table. Or on a chair. Moreover, that Section 7054 allows a union official to use a school's desk, or table, or chair, or even its electricity in order to give a partisan speech on school grounds. But using a mailbox, he says, is categorically different. That's prohibited by Section 7054.

I'd have loved to see a dissent.