Giving Compass' Take:

• Goldwater Institute explains why it filed a lawsuit in Oregon to end mandatory bar dues from lawyers, which have been used to fund political activities. 

• What is the ideal outcome of this lawsuit? How can unions better represent their members? 

• Learn about the Janus decision that prevents states from requiring teachers to join unions. 


Like 31 other states, Oregon forces lawyers to join a bar association and pay mandatory member dues—which in many instances don’t just go toward regulating the legal profession or protecting clients: They’re often used to fund political activities and advocacy that many bar members disagree with.

In the Oregon case, state officials chose to use the mandatory member dues to publish an article in an issue of the state bar’s magazine that criticized an elected official. That’s political speech, and Oregon lawyers shouldn’t be forced to fund it when they disagree.

In its lawsuit, Goldwater is seeking an end to the unconstitutional requirement that attorneys join and fund a bar association as a prerequisite to practicing law. “All Americans have the right to choose which groups we join and the political ideas we will and won’t support with our money. But in Oregon and too many other states, attorneys are being denied that right,” said Goldwater Institute Senior Attorney Jacob Huebert. “Also, mandatory state bar membership isn’t even necessary to regulate the legal profession. After all, eighteen states—including New York, Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania—don’t require it. If they can operate without a mandatory state bar, all states can.”

Read the full article about ending mandatory bar dues for lawyers from the Goldwater Institute.