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The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to review a challenge by a Florida-based, national litigation group claiming that the Florida State Bar violated its First Amendment rights when the bar authorized an amicus brief in a controversial gay adoption case in state court. In January, the Florida Bar board of governors voted to file an amicus brief through its Family Law Section in support of a trial court ruling that struck down the 1977 Florida law prohibiting gays and lesbians from adopting children. That case is currently awaiting a decision from Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals, which heard arguments on Aug. 26. Liberty Counsel, a conservative, nonprofit litigation organization, turned to the Florida Supreme Court seeking to enjoin the Florida Bar from filing the amicus brief. The group argued that under U.S. Supreme Court precedent, mandatory bar associations like the Florida Bar cannot use member dues to support ideological causes which are not germane to the goals of regulating the legal profession and improving the quality of legal service. The state Supreme Court in June, voting 5-2, rejected Liberty Counsel’s First Amendment arguments and held that membership in the Family Law Section is voluntary and any such advocacy by a section is not funded with compulsory dues. The U.S. Supreme Court denied review without comment in the case, Liberty Counsel v. Florida Bar Board of Governors.

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