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ARGUED APRIL 15, 2010

Before BAUER, ROVNER, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.

To practice law in the State of Wisconsin, lawyers must join the Wisconsin State Bar. To join the State Bar, lawyers must pay State Bar dues. For more than fifty years, this system has been generating First Amendment litigation, and this case is the latest installment. In 2007, the State Bar used a portion of members’ dues to conduct a public image campaign with the goal of improving the public’s perception of Wisconsin lawyers. Petitioners Jon Kingstad, Steven Levine, and James Thiel (collectively, the “Objectors”) objected to the State Bar’s use of their mandatory dues to fund the campaign as a violation of their rights under the First Amendment. Their objection was first heard by a state arbitrator, who ruled in favor of the State Bar. The Objectors appealed to a state trial court, and the State Bar removed their appeal to the federal courts. The parties consented to having their case heard by Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker, who upheld the arbitrator’s determination. The petitioners now appeal to this court.

 
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