Supreme Court sends dispute over mandatory state bar association fees back to lower court
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Supreme Court sends dispute over mandatory state bar association fees back to lower court

The US Supreme Court on Monday remanded a dispute over mandatory state bar association fees to the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Fleck v. Wetch challenges mandatory fees attorneys pay to the State Bar Association of North Dakota. Arnold Fleck disputes the use a portion of his fees to support a political ballot measure he personally opposed. He also asks whether the court will “permit the state to force Petitioner to join a trade association he opposes as a condition of earning a living in his chosen profession.”

Depending on the level of membership, the Bar Association fees range from $325-$380 per year with $10 allotted to the bar’s political activities. Fleck’s argument is that North Dakota attorneys should give affirmative assent to having their fees politically appropriated instead the current system of requiring an “opt-out.”

The Supreme Court remanded to the lower court with the instruction to reconsider the case in light of the 2018 Supreme Court decision Janus v. State, County, and Municipal Employees in which the court struck down union security clauses in public-sector labor contracts.