MENU

Does the First Amendment Allow States to Compel Recipients of Government Monies to Support State-Designated Representatives?

Engage, Volume 11, Issue 2
By William Messenger
August 31, 2010

A basic precept of democracy is that citizens choose their representatives in government. A growing trend in several states raises a new question: can governments choose representatives for their citizens?

Increasing numbers of states are designating entities to act as the mandatory representatives of groups of citizens vis-à-vis state agencies with respect to government programs that affect those citizens. The state-designated representatives are granted exclusive privileges to speak with state agencies to influence their administration of the government programs, and the citizens are compelled to pay for this compulsory representation...