This month, we’ve asked the U.S. Supreme Court to once again take up the case of Arnold Fleck, the North Dakota attorney whose First Amendment rights have been violated for years by state laws forcing him to join and to pay annual dues to the State Bar Association of North Dakota (SBAND).

Bar associations like SBAND aren’t to be confused with the bar exam, which is the licensing requirement lawyers must satisfy. Bar associations are clubs—trade associations that engage in a wide variety of activities, including lobbying the government. Fleck argues that forcing him to join SBAND violates his freedom of association, and forcing him to pay it annual dues—which in the past it has spent on political campaigns as well as lobbying—violates his free speech rights.

Fleck appealed to the Supreme Court, which only months later announced its ruling in the Janus case, which held that the Constitution forbids states from forcing public employees to join unions, and also that people have a constitutional right to decide whether to contribute to their political spending—and that the mere option of a refund isn’t good enough. 

We’re hoping the Supreme Court will take up the case of Arnold Fleck—and of thousands of lawyers who are today forced to join these private trade associations and to subsidize what’s often their politically charged activities. Read more about Fleck’s case and how the Goldwater Institute is defending his First Amendment rights here.

Censored on campus

Would you believe that conservative college students in America are afraid to share their opinions because they fear how their peers or professors may respond? It’s sad but true, according to a new survey of students at the University of North Carolina.

Almost 40 percent of students that identify as conservative say that they have some level of “concern” that other students would file a complaint against them based on something they say in a class that discusses politics. It appears that those students are even censoring themselves in order to avoid scorn.

Seventeen percent of conservative students said they “kept an opinion related to class to themselves” more than 10 times. This sounds like a modest figure, but just 1.5 percent of liberal respondents said they self-censored to this degree. Seventy-six percent of liberal students said they never chose to keep ideas to themselves, compared to 32 percent of conservatives.  

The Goldwater Institute has taken action to restore the freedom of speech on college campuses with model legislation designed to ensure free expression within America’s public university systems. Read more about the problem in a new article by Goldwater Institute Senior Fellow Jonathan Butcher here, and read about our solution at RestoreFreeSpeech.com.

Arizona Moms Are Speaking Out

The Arizona Department of Education’s confusing and arbitrary handling of the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program is hurting thousands of families—and ESA moms are speaking out. 

“I am the mother of four children, two of whom participate in Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account program,” writes Kayla Svedin in a recent Arizona Capitol Times op-ed. “That means I am one of nearly 7,000 parents whose personal information was inadvertently disclosed by the Arizona Department of Education. And because of the department’s utter failure to properly manage this program, my children and thousands of children across the state are not getting the education they deserve.”

In a separate op-ed for the Capitol Times, ESA mom Christine Accurso outlines the many ways that the Department has fallen down on the job in administering the ESA program. “The gross incompetence and negligence of the Arizona Department of Education, in the one year that this administration has been managing the ESAs, is abhorrent. The litany of problems just keeps getting longer and something needs to be done.” This is just one of many examples of gross mismanagement by the Arizona Department of Education, and we’re in court fighting others.

Read more about what these women have to say here.

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