Supreme Court makes significant rulings on California union dues and obscenity, but not health care

Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments On Arizona Immigration Law

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The U.S. Supreme Court is illuminated on April 25, 2012 in Washington, DC. The court issued important decisions Thursday, but left the question of health care up in the air.

The United States Supreme Court did not rule on health care or Arizona's immigration law. However, it did make decisions on several other cases, including one involving a California public employees union.

The high court ruled on mandatory union contributions to fight a pair of ballot initiatives backed by then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Supreme Court's majority ruled the First Amendment protects an individual's right not to pay for speech he or she doesn't believe in.

But writing the dissent, and speaking about it for several minutes in court, Justice Stephen Breyer suggested the court had gone too far, answering a question that was not asked by the lawsuit or by the lower court. The Supreme Court decision says public employee unions have to allow individuals to "opt in" to paying dues for political battles, rather than getting the dues back at a later time.

In another ruling, the Supreme Court did not change its 1978 opinion on indecency. Instead, it told the Federal Communications Commission it didn't give stations enough notice about a change in policy. The case involved the Fox network's broadcast of the Billboard Music Awards where expletives went out on the air, as well as a shower scene from the old ABC police show "NYPD Blue."

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