Bloomberg Law

NYC Public Defenders Sue over Paying Union Critical of Israel

April 11, 2024

(Bloomberg Law)—A pair of Jewish public defenders in New York City sued to stop paying money to their union because it made statements related to the Israeli-Hamas war that they consider antisemitic.

The public defenders’ lawsuit filed Thursday argues for a novel extension of the US Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, which held that the First Amendment prohibits public-sector workers from being required to pay fees to unions.

Arnold Levine and Allen Popper are represented by the Liberty Justice Center, the conservative advocacy group that represented the plaintiff in Janus. They sued the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, their union; Legal Aid Society, their employer; and New York City, which they perform services for through a contract between the city and their employer

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