Jewish Attorneys Sue Union over Dues after Pro-Palestine Stance

April 11, 2024

(Law360)—A public defenders union violated the First Amendment by forcing two Jewish attorneys who oppose its pro-Palestine rhetoric to continue paying dues, the New York City-based attorneys claimed in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday, naming the city and their employer as defendants as well.

Arnold Levine and Allen Popper said the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME ruling makes it clear that requiring public employees to subsidize union speech that they oppose violates the First Amendment.

Therefore, the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys was legally obligated to accept Levine’s request to withdraw dues after the union introduced a strongly worded resolution condemning Israel’s “brutal and illegal siege” in Palestine, and the union’s refusal to do so was unconstitutional, the attorneys argued in a 12-page complaint…

“By contracting with LAS—which has a collective bargaining agreement with ALAA requiring its employees to pay money to the union—to provide attorneys who provide a core government function… the city effectively requires plaintiffs to pay money to a union without their consent—something it could not constitutionally do directly,” Levine and Popper said.

Read the full article at Law360 here.