Last July we highlighted the case of Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. That Supreme Court case held forcing non-union workers to finance union activities “violates the free speech rights. . . by compelling them to subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern.”
The article ended with: “It is unknown what will happen, only time will tell, but it is a safe bet that the Janus decision will have widespread impacts, one way or the other, all across the country.”
As predicted, Janus is having an impact, and it is right here in Oregon.
Diane L. Gruber and Mark Runnels v. Oregon State Bar has been filed in the U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon under case number 3:18-cv-01519-MO. The case is based off of the ruling in Janus and alleges that the State of Oregon is violating attorneys’ freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.
The Plaintiffs allege that compulsory bar fees are then used for “various types of political and ideological activities which Plaintiffs do not agree with,” and this violates their rights under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The Plaintiffs do not seek to end the requirement that attorneys be licensed to practice law, but seek to end required membership in the Oregon State Bar.
Although attorneys in Oregon are probably watching this case closer than most Oregonians, it will undoubtedly have an impact on other Oregon organizations, and organizations in other states as the Janus ripple continues its course. We may not have to wait long to get an answer as a motion to dismiss is scheduled for oral argument on March 13, 2019, at 10:00 am in the Federal Courthouse in Portland.