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8th Circuit Concludes Janus Does Not Alter Prior Grant of Summary Judgment in Bar’s Favor


A Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA) member filed suit against the LSBA, the Louisiana Supreme Court and the Justices of the Court on Aug. 1, challenging mandatory Bar membership on First and 14th amendment grounds. See, Boudreaux v. Louisiana State Bar Association, Louisiana Supreme Court et al., www.lsba.org/documents/Suit/ LA00LSBAComplaint.pdf.

In a similar challenge involving the State Bar Association of North Dakota (Fleck v. Wetch), on Aug. 30, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the Bar’s procedures for collecting mandatory membership fees do not violate the First Amendment. The panel had previously ruled in favor of the Bar, but the U.S. Supreme Court vacated and remanded that ruling for reconsideration in light of Janus v. AFSCME. In its recent decision, the 8th Circuit concluded that Janus does not alter its prior grant of summary judgment in favor of the Bar. Review the 8th Circuit’s Judgment and Opinion at: www.lsba.org/ Challenge/NorthDakota.aspx.

Mandatory membership in a state Bar and payment of compulsory fees were held constitutional in Keller v. State Bar of California, 496 U.S. 1 (1990), and Lathrop v. Donohue, 367 U.S. 820 (1961), and the LSBA operates in accordance with these decisions.

The LSBA’s legislative advocacy is subject to a number of provisions set forth in the Association’s Bylaws. These activities are limited to matters involving issues affecting the profession, the regulation of attorneys and the practice of law, the administration of justice, the availability and delivery of legal services to society, the improvement of the courts and the legal profession, and other matters consistent with the mission and purposes of the Association.

The LSBA will vigorously defend its mandatory structure, established by the Louisiana Supreme Court nearly 80 years ago to aid in the administration of justice and assist with the regulation of the practice of law.

Similar legal challenges are facing other states with mandatory Bars, including Texas, Oklahoma, Oregon, Michigan and Wisconsin. For updates on these cases, go to: www.lsba.org/Challenge.




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