Sixth Circuit Rejects Constitutional Challenge to Mandatory Bar Membership in MIchigan
Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected a constitutional challenge to Michigan’s requirement that attorneys licensed in the state maintain a their membership in an integrated bar.
Judge Moore’s opinion for the Court in Taylor v. Buchanan begins:
Attorneys in Michigan, like those in most other states, must join an integrated bar association in order to practice law. In this suit, Lucille S. Taylor, a Michigan attorney, argues that requiring her to join the State Bar of Michigan violates her freedom of association, and further that the State Bar of Michigan’s use of a portion of her mandatory membership dues for certain advocacy activities violates her freedom of speech. The district court rejected Taylor’s First Amendment claims, holding that they are foreclosed by two Supreme Court decisions that have not since been overruled.
Judge Moore’s brief opinion applies existing precedent in a straightforward fashion.
Judge Thapar wrote a separate concurring opinion noting that the court’s ruling does not foreclose all First Amendment challenges to integrated bar membership requirements.
Judge Thapar writes:
Because Supreme Court precedent forecloses the plaintiff’s compelled association claim, and because the plaintiff failed to bring the one cla
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