LATHROP V. DONOHUE, 367 U. S. 820 (1961)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Lathrop v. Donohue, 367 U.S. 820 (1961)

Lathrop v. Donohue

No. 200

Argued January 18, 1961

Decided June 19, 1961

367 U.S. 820


Acting in accordance with an Act of the State Legislature, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin promulgated rules and bylaws creating an integrated State Bar and requiring all lawyers practicing in the State to be members thereof and to pay annual dues of $15. Appellant paid his dues under protest and sued for a refund, claiming that the State Bar engaged in political activities which he opposed, and that, by coercing him to support it, such rules and bylaws violated his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. The State Supreme Court held that compulsory enrollment in the State Bar imposed only the duty to pay dues, sustained the constitutionality of the rules and bylaws, and affirmed a judgment dismissing the complaint. On appeal to this Court,


1. This appeal is cognizable by this Court under 28 U.S. C. §1257(2), which authorizes it to review on appeal a final judgment rendered by the highest court of a State "where is drawn in question the validity of a [state] statute." Pp. 367 U. S. 824-827.

2. Insofar as the rules and bylaws merely require lawyers practicing in the State to become members of the integrated State Bar and to pay reasonable annual dues, they do not violate the Fourteenth Amendment. Railway Employes' Department v. Hanson, 351 U. S. 225. Pp. 367 U. S. 827-843, 367 U. S. 849-850, 367 U. S. 865.

3. The judgment is affirmed without passing on the conclusion of the Wisconsin Supreme Court that appellant may constitutionally be compelled to contribute his financial support to political activities which he opposes. Pp. 367 U. S. 843-848.

10 Wis.2d 230,102 N.W.2d 404, affirmed.

Page 367 U. S. 821

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