Free the lawyers!

By The Record | Apr 30, 2019

“Welcome to the club!”

“What club? I didn’t join any club.”

“Sure you did. When you entered this profession, you joined a club. Everybody who does what we do is in the club, automatically. By the way, you need to pay your dues.”

“Whoa! Whoa! Dues? What dues? I’m not paying dues to a club I never joined and don’t want to belong to.”

Can you imagine how many times a conversation like that must have occurred over the last several decades when a new employee was confronted by a union representative and informed for the first time that he must pay membership fees to a union he had no desire to join, but was obliged to belong to?

Needless to say, most working people, given their circumstances, figure they really have no choice, so they succumb to the pressure and pony up. Even attorneys. Yep, those brash men and women who are supposed to know the law let themselves be hornswoggled, too.

You’d think they might have read the Constitution, right? You know, that short document whose very first amendment guarantees our rights to freedom of religion,  freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition?

How many of those rights are violated by compulsory dues-paying membership? Possibly all five, depending on the club and its agenda.

Pushback against this obvious abuse of the rights of American citizens has been going on for a while, and now even attorneys are familiarizing themselves with our foundational document and citing it to reclaim their rights.

In March, several Texas attorneys filed suit against the State Bar Board of Directors, arguing that being obliged to pay dues to the bar violates their First Amendment rights. State Attorney General Ken Paxton has since filed a brief in support of that suit.

It may be sad, but it’s certainly true: If we want to retain our rights as American citizens, we must be willing to fight for them.

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