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The Buckeye Institute: Forcing Lawyers to Support Political Speech Through Mandatory Bar Dues Violates First Amendment

Jun 29, 2021

Columbus, OH – On Tuesday, The Buckeye Institute filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court of the United States in Crowe v. Oregon State Bar, which calls on the court to recognize the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of association by ending laws that force lawyers to join state-sponsored bar associations that engage in lobbying on inherently political and ideological issues in order to practice their profession.

“Forcing attorneys to pay bar dues that support political speech in order to lawfully practice violates the attorneys’ First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of association,” said Robert Alt, president and chief executive officer of The Buckeye Institute. “When bar associations that don’t just regulate the practice of law, but also engage in advocacy and speak on matters of public concern, they are engaging in inherently political speech; and forcing attorneys’ to support this speech through their mandatory dues violates the constitutional protections of free speech that we all hold so dear.” 

Crowe v. Oregon State Bar—which was brought by the Goldwater Institute—challenges Oregon’s integrated bar system that requires attorneys to become members of the state-sponsored bar association that engages in political speech and lobbying in order to practice law in Oregon. 

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