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A Louisiana lawyer joined a growing number of attorneys challenging the payment of mandatory membership dues to state bar associations.
The lawsuits argue that mandatory dues used to fund the associations' lobbying and legislative activity violate the free speech rights of individual lawyers.
Randy - Boudreaux - Lawsuit - Louisiana - State
Randy Boudreaux filed the lawsuit against the Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA) on Aug. 1. The insurance defense attorney told the Washington Free Beacon that the case drew from the Supreme Court's 2018 Janus decision. The majority in the 5-4 decision said that forcing workers to pay compulsory dues or fees to public sector labor unions violated the First Amendment rights of workers.
"The LSBA…uses those compelled dues to engage in political and ideological speech, including advocacy on issues of public policy," Boudreaux's lawsuit says.
States - Attorneys - State - Bar - Practice
All 50 states require prospective attorneys to be admitted to the state bar before they are able to practice law. Boudreaux said lawyers are being compelled to pay for political activities and lobbying undertaken by the associations.
"The lawsuit is looking to change the status quo, which could mean the bar association makes membership voluntary or it stops taking political stances," Boudreaux said in a phone interview.
Lawsuits - Oregon - Oklahoma - Wisconsin - Texas
Similar lawsuits have been filed in Oregon, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Texas, all of which argue the mandatory dues amount to coerced speech.
Janus is not the only previous case the lawsuits draw upon, however. In 2018, the Supreme Court threw out a lower court's ruling that allowed state governments to force lawyers to pay mandatory dues to bar associations. The case, Fleck v. Wetch, drew the attention of the National Right to Work Foundation, which successfully argued Janus before the Supreme Court. The foundation filed an amicus brief in the Fleck case supporting the plaintiff’s argument.
Level - First - Amendment - Scrutiny - Applies
"The highest level of First Amendment scrutiny applies to both mandatory union fees and to bar fees,...
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