While sometimes a case requires more finesse than calling balls and strikes, in Friedrichs just playing umpire will be sufficient to rule against the teachers unions. One strike will be very easy to call: can the government assume that you’ve given up your First Amendment rights unless you affirmatively object to having them violated? Of course not. If the First Amendment means anything then it must be a right that people presumptively have, and the government must bear the burden of asking us to waive the right.
Another question will be more difficult, yet will still be relatively easy to answer if the justices focus on the origins of Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977), the case they’re being asked to overrule: are public‐sector unions’ bargaining demands just another type of political speech, and does forcing people to fund those demands violate the First Amendment?