PENDLEY: Challenging unions’ First Amendment violations

By William Perry Pendley, The Washington Times

Last month, Scott Lautenbaugh, an Omaha attorney and Nebraska state senator, filed a lawsuit against the Nebraska State Bar Association in federal district court in Omaha. Days later, Mr. Lautenbaugh sought a preliminary injunction and to certify his case as a class action. Mr. Lautenbaugh is an outspoken opponent of the bar’s use of member dues for political and ideological purposes. In fact, he filed a petition with the Nebraska Supreme Court asking that it “de-integrate the bar,” that is, make membership in the bar voluntary.

Currently, membership in the Nebraska State Bar Association is mandatory for all attorneys who practice law in the state. Members’ dues of $345 annually are used not only to regulate, discipline and educate attorneys, but also to support a “Legislative Program,” which includes “the initiation, support, opposition, or comment on legislative matters,” at both state and local levels. During the past two years, for example, the Legislative Program has lobbied on more than 100 bills, including its opposition to legislation expanding concealed-carry permit rights, restricting eminent domain, and eliminating statutes of limitations for some felonies.

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