Oral Argument: Pelican to Defend Attorney’s Free Speech Rights

Oral Argument: Pelican to Defend Attorney’s Free Speech Rights

New Orleans – The Pelican Institute will advocate for the free speech rights of a Louisiana attorney in an oral argument before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans on Tuesday, July 11 at 9 a.m., in the case of Boudreaux v. Louisiana State Bar Association.

In that case, the Institute’s Pelican Center for Justice is representing Randy Boudreaux, an attorney who is challenging the state bar association’s mandatory dues. Boudreaux has been a practicing attorney since 1995, and the state of Louisiana mandates him to become a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA) and pay dues in order to practice his profession. Since at least 2007, the LSBA has taken a position on more than 500 bills filed in the Louisiana legislature and uses mandatory dues for its advocacy—effectively compelling Boudreaux to speak against his will, in violation of his First Amendment rights.

“Right now, membership in the Bar Association is forced, and I’ve always been bothered by this since the bar can take these political stances while still speaking on your behalf as a lawyer,” Boudreaux said. “This is one of the issues where there’s clearly a violation of individual autonomy and freedom of speech.”

On August 1, 2019, the Pelican Institute, joined by attorneys from the Goldwater Institute and Loyola Professor Dane Ciolino, filed suit on behalf of Boudreaux in the Eastern District of Louisiana. On Tuesday, the Court will hear Boudreaux’s argument seeking to overturn a district court decision that ruled in favor of the LSBA. James Baehr, a Constitutional litigator and a founder of the Pelican Center for Justice, will be arguing on behalf of Boudreaux.

“The First Amendment guarantees every American’s freedom of speech and freedom of association,” Baehr said. “But in Louisiana and 29 other states, some people—those who practice law—are being denied their right not to speak and their right not to associate. There’s no excuse for this, and the Pelican Institute will continue to zealously advocate on behalf of Mr. Boudreaux and all Americans who are being deprived of their rights.”

Oral Arguments may be heard on Tuesday, July 11, 2023, at 9 a.m., in the En Banc Courtroom at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans.

For more information, contact James Baehr at james@pelicaninstitute.org

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