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Justices reject request to rehear union case that tied 4-4

In this October 2014, file photo, people walk outside the Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

In this October 2014, file photo, people walk outside the Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON  — The Supreme Court has turned down a long-shot request to hold new arguments in a major labor union case that ended in a 4-4 tie.

The justices on Tuesday denied without comment a petition from a group of California teachers urging the court to reconsider the case once a new justice is confirmed.

The court almost never rehears cases. It would have taken five justices to agree to a rehearing.

The tie vote in March was a victory for unions in a case they once seemed all but certain to lose before Justice Antonin Scalia died in February. The deadlock left in place a nearly four-decade-old practice that lets public-sector unions collect fees from non-members to cover collective bargaining costs.

The teachers claim the fees infringe free speech rights.