Mackinac Center Signs on to two U.S. Supreme Court Amicus Briefs
The Center is currently litigating a similar case in Michigan challenging state bar memberships
Wednesday, February 26, 2020|Font size:
MIDLAND, Mich. — The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation has signed on to two U.S. Supreme Court amicus briefs regarding state bar associations across the country that force lawyers to pay dues. The foundation is also representing a client litigating Michigan’s mandatory bar membership in court.
“No other licensed profession in Michigan is forced to associate and subsidize speech,” said Patrick Wright, vice president for legal affairs at the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation. “Lawyers have a diverse set of opinions and their rights to free speech and association are fundamental.”
The briefs argue that while states have an interest in ensuring that professionals operate ethically and enforce discipline in the practice of law, they cannot do so by mandating participation in groups which take positions on political issues.
Similar to what the court found in Janus v. AFSCME concerning mandatory fees for public sector unions, it is unconstitutional for states to compel membership or fees in state bar associations. This would not be the end of legal associations; in fact, 20 states do not have mandatory membership associations. This fact alone demonstrates that forcing lawyers to contribute is unnecessary.
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