Mine Workers v. Illinois Bar Assn.,
389 U.S. 217 (1967)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Mine Workers v. Illinois Bar Assn., 389 U.S. 217 (1967)

United Mine Workers of America, District 12

v. Illinois Bar Association

No. 33

Argued October 17, 1967

Decided December 5, 1967

389 U.S. 217


The Illinois Bar Association and others brought this action to enjoin petitioner Union from the unauthorized practice of law. The Union employs a licensed lawyer, solely compensated by an annual salary, to represent members and their dependents in connection with their claims under the Illinois Workmen's Compensation Act. The trial court found that the Union's employment of the attorney constituted unauthorized practice of law, and enjoined the Union from

"[e]mploying attorneys on salary or retainer basis to represent its members with respect to Workmen's Compensation [or other statutory] claims."

The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed, rejecting petitioner's contentions that the decree violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Held: The trial court's decree preventing petitioner from hiring attorneys on a salary basis to assist its members in asserting their legal rights violates the freedom of speech, assembly, and petition provisions of the First Amendment as incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment. Pp. 389 U. S. 221-225.

(a) No restraints by legislation or otherwise upon First Amendment rights can be sustained merely because they were imposed for the purpose of dealing with some evil within the State's competence. P. 389 U. S. 222.

(b) In this case, as in Railroad Trainmen v. Virginia Bar, 377 U. S. 1 (1964), and NAACP v. Button, 371 U. S. 415 (1963), the principles of which are controlling here, the remote possibility of harm arising from the theoretically conflicting interests of the Union and its members cannot justify the substantial impairment of the Union members' associational rights which results from the trial court's decree. Pp. 389 U. S. 222-224.

35 Ill.2d 112, 219 N.E.2d 503, vacated and remanded.

Page 389 U. S. 218

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