U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear challenge against the SBM
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to consider a case seeking to invalidate the role of the State Bar of Michigan in the state’s structure of regulating attorneys.
In Taylor v. Warnez, a Michigan attorney claimed that requiring her to be a member and pay dues to the State Bar of Michigan violated her First Amendment rights to free speech and free association based on a 2018 Supreme Court decision. The Supreme Court denied the plaintiff’s petition for a writ of certiorari today, April 4, 2022.
The Supreme Court has now denied petitions in seven cases challenging the constitutionality of integrated bars in the past two years.
The U.S. District Court of Western Michigan previously had rejected Taylor’s argument, explaining that the Supreme Court had already “squarely decided the issues” in favor of the State Bar in Lathrop v. Donahue, 367 U.S. 820 (1961) and Keller v. State Bar of California, 496 U.S. 1 (1990). Likewise, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals denied plaintiff’s claims, holding that “Lathrop and Keller remain good law.”
“We are pleased to see an end to this case,” said Dana Warnez, president of the SBM Board of Commissioners. “As an integrated bar, Michigan attorneys are both licensed and self-governed through the State Bar of Michigan. This decision today ensures that the State Bar will continue to serve and protect the public, help the state’s justice system evolve and improve, and advance the legal profession.”
The Taylor v. Warnez case was part of a wave of lawsuits filed around the country challenging the constitutionality of integrated bars in the wake of the 2018 Supreme Court decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, 138 S. Ct. 2448 (2018). Courts across the country have consistently rejected challenges like Taylor’s and upheld the constitutionality of the integrated bar.
Posted: April 4, 2022