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First Amendment Library:
Seth M. Hufstedler


Petitioners, members of respondent State Bar of California, sued that body, claiming its use of their membership dues to finance certain ideological or political activities to which they were opposed violated their rights under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Supreme Court of California rejected this challenge on the grounds that the State Bar is a state agency and, as such, may use the dues for any purpose within its broad statutory authority. We agree that lawyers admitted to practice in the State may be required to join and pay dues to the State Bar, but disagree as to the scope of permissible dues-financed activities in which the State Bar may engage.