Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Bar Association Membership Requirement
June 3, 2020
The Justices of the Supreme Court didn’t add any new cases to their merits docket for the fall. They failed to act on cases challenging federal and state gun restrictions, on reconsidering qualified immunity for police officers accused of violating the constitutional rights of others, and declined to review a challenge to the constitutionality of laws requiring lawyers who want to practice law in a state to join the state’s bar association and pay dues. That lawsuit was filed by two Wisconsin lawyers who argued that compelling them to join and pay dues violates the First Amendment. Their challenge followed the Court’s decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, that government employees who are represented by a union but do not belong to that union cannot be required to pay a fee to cover the costs of contract negotiations, which overruled precedent. The attorneys based their appeals on their disagreement with the Wisconsin bar’s advocacy on the death penalty, immigration law, free exercise of religion and campaign finance. Justices Thomas and Gorsuch, dissented from the denial of review.
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