Attorney General Paxton filed an amicus brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in defense of First Amendment rights for members of the State Bar of Texas. The state requires every attorney to join the State Bar of Texas in order to receive and maintain a law license, and every attorney is then compelled to support political and ideological activities involving divisive issues through membership dues.
“Compelled political speech through compulsory dues is blatantly incompatible with this nation’s bedrock principles of individual liberty. Pursuing a career as an attorney should never require someone to forgo their First Amendment rights,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Members of an organization should not be used as a funding source for political causes that they do not support, and I will tirelessly defend citizens’ constitutional right to free speech.”
The State Bar admitted to having an ‘opt-out’ refund procedure; however, attorneys can only demand a refund after paying their dues in full and jumping through a series of convoluted bureaucratic hoops. Currently, over a third of the states regulate their legal professions without requiring attorneys to financially support political causes they disfavor.
Read a copy of the brief here.