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Week in Review: Taking a stand for free speech in Louisiana

August 3, 2019

 

Imagine being forced to pay for political speech that is the opposite of everything you stand for. That’s a violation of your First Amendment rights, and it’s a practice that’s happening all across the country.

The Goldwater Institute is taking a stand. 

 

In Louisiana and 29 other states, some people—those who practice law—are being denied their rights not to speak, not to associate with a group against their will and not to pay for others’ political advocacy. In these states, the government forces lawyers to join and pay dues to bar associations to be allowed to pursue their chosen profession.

Our Fight in Court: This week, the Goldwater Institute filed a lawsuit with the Pelican Institute challenging Louisiana’s mandatory bar association dues in Boudreaux v. Louisiana State Bar Association. Just like in our similar cases in North Dakota, Oregon, and Oklahoma, this case follows the landmark Janus v. AFSCME decision, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment prohibits governments from making their employees pay union fees—which inevitably fund unions’ political speech—just to keep their jobs. 

By the same reasoning, Boudreaux’s lawsuit says, lawyers shouldn’t be forced to pay for bar associations’ speech just to do their jobs. 

 

How do successful people get to be successful? Is it because fate smiled upon them, because luck has gone their way? That’s not the case, former small-business owner Frayda Levin writes in a new Wall Street Journal op-ed.

“Lady Luck has never done much for me,” Levin wrote. “She never answered the phone. She certainly didn’t deal with customer complaints. I’m the one who spent weekends struggling to learn new software options, figuring out finances and taxes, and anguishing over employee concerns.” 

Hard work and sacrifice—working weekends to cover for sick employees, for example—are what drove her own success, and that’s a lesson that students should take to heart as they enter the workforce themselves. 

 

In a classic episode of the ’80s sitcom Family Ties, the ultraconservative Alex P. Keaton takes his baby brother Andy to preschool only after taping a sign to his chest that reads “I know what’s mine.” The joke, of course, is that Alex’s insistence on property rights makes him skeptical of the whole idea of “sharing.”

But the reality is that a healthy understanding of private property facilitates—in fact, is essential—to sharing, or at least any sharing worthy of the name. And a new article by Chapman University law professor Donald Kochan makes that point in a clever and important way, by examining research by child psychologists on the phenomenon of sharing among kids.

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