Sutherland Newsletter – March 27, 2008

1.Sutherland to Hold Earth Week 2008

From April 22-25, the Sutherland Institute is launching Earth Week 2008: The Future of Utah. The nation’s top energy and climate experts will be in Salt Lake City to discuss the effects that “green” policies will have on the state of Utah.  These experts know the truth about man-made global warming, the benefits of nuclear energy, and the disastrous Clinton “off-limits” policy regarding the Grande Escalante Staircase.  Admission is free, but seating is limited.  RSVP by calling 801.355.1272 or email


2.U.S. Supreme Court to Review Case Involving Voluntary Contributions Act

The United States Supreme Court will now resolve a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision involving the Pocatello Education Association.  The Sutherland Institute worked with the Utah Taxpayers Association and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation to file a Friend of the Court (amicus) brief urging the Court to review Ysursa v. Pocatello because there was a split in the circuits on this important First Amendment issue.


The Court of Appeals’ decision held that Idaho’s Voluntary Contributions Act (“VCA”), which prohibits public employees from being forced to collect payroll deductions for donations to political action committees, is unconstitutional, as a violation of First Amendment freedom of speech.  The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals similarly struck down the Utah Voluntary Contributions Act, which included the same prohibition, likewise concluding the Utah VCA violated the First Amendment.  However, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a virtually identical Ohio statute, concluding that “the protections accorded to fundamental First Amendment rights do not extend to imposing a duty on government to assist the exercise of First Amendment rights.”  In other words, government employers cannot be compelled to collect political contributions for unions.