by Jacob Huebert and Timothy Sandefur
December 21, 2018

Government employees can’t be forced to subsidize political speech through union fees, the U.S. Supreme Court held in June’s Janus v. Afscme decision. Instead, employees must “affirmatively consent before any money is taken from them.” Lawyers have rights too. This month the justices ordered a lower court to reconsider, in light of Janus, a ruling against Arnold Fleck, a North Dakota attorney who doesn’t want to join the state bar association.

Thirty-two states require lawyers not only to pass the bar exam and get a license, but also to join a bar association and pay its annual fees. These associations often take positions on political issues—as in North Dakota, where Mr. Fleck supported a 2014 ballot initiative to reform child-custody law. The State Bar Association opposed the measure and donated money to the campaign against it. Mr. Fleck didn’t want to fund the opposition of a cause he supported, so he sued.

Read the full op-ed in the Wall Street Journal here.

Jacob Huebert and Timothy Sandefur are attorneys at the Goldwater Institute.

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