Freedom Foundation to Supreme Court: “The First Amendment applies to attorneys, too.”

Freedom Foundation to Supreme Court: “The First Amendment applies to attorneys, too.”

Freedom Foundation to Supreme Court: “The First Amendment applies to attorneys, too.”

The Freedom Foundation recently contributed a brief in a case currently pending before the United States Supreme Court that asks whether licensed attorneys, like public sector employees, have the right to refuse having their money taken and spent on politics without their consent.

Specifically, McDonald v. Firth concerns attorneys who are currently being forced to contribute money, against their will, to so-called “mandatory bar associations.”

While a sizeable number of states allow their members to make their own decisions about whether to contribute money to a bar’s activities to purportedly improve the legal profession, the majority of states still require it as a condition of practicing law.

If all these bar associations did was regulate the legal profession, perhaps objecting attorneys might decide to voluntarily contribute their money without being forced to do so. Unfortunately, like the vast majority of public sector unions, the money taken is often spent on the bar association’s own political pet projects, rather than topics germane to the law.

Pet projects that members are forced to support, whether they agree or not.

Firth concerns an issue much bigger than just the rights of attorneys. If the government can pick and choose whose constitutional rights count and whose don’t, whether attorneys, public sector employees, or anyone else, there won’t be much left of the Bill of Rights.

Litigation Counsel
Tim Snowball is a civil rights attorney with Freedom Foundation, where his practice is focused on protecting the First Amendment rights of government workers to make their own decisions about whether to join or support public sector unions. In addition to his legal practice, Tim is an advocate for education in the areas of American government, constitutional history, and the Rule of Law. To this end, he has participated in hundreds of media interviews, written viral op-eds and blog posts, and regularly delivers speeches and other presentations to groups across California. Tim is also a part-time coach for UC Davis School of Law’s Mock Trial Program, where he teaches students the ins and out of trial practice, and has successfully lead teams to national competitions for the past three years. Tim received a JD from the George Washington University Law School, a BA in American Politics and Government from UC Berkeley, and an AA in Political Science from Grossmont College. At GW, Tim served as Notes Editor on the Federal Circuit Bar Journal, Coach on the Mock Trial Skills Board, and received the President’s Volunteer Service Award and Pro Bono Service Award for volunteering over 500 hours of pro bono service. When not fighting to protect the First Amendment, you can find Tim with his nose stuck in a book, working out, watching movies, or spending time with family and friends.