Generally, those in a private membership association are not under the jurisdiction of the state, local, and federal governments’ laws and regulations, the exception being, when a private membership associates’ activities present a clear and present danger.
Origins and Powers
Even during intense litigation the court consistently upheld the status of the private membership association, consequently making it a cornerstone of legal arguments used by the civil rights movement. Though the Constitution does not specifically enshrine private membership associations, the Supreme Court describes the right and power to associate, including under private membership association, as equal to free speech.
The use for private membership associations has been to shield organization or practitioners from legal scrutiny. In regards to alternative medicine and healthcare private membership associations have opted to induct their patients into the organization to streamline care and get around prohibitive and costly regulation. Under the First and Fourteenth Amendment and equivalent State Constitution provisions, private membership association such as independent alternative medical practitioners can offer me members (patients) benefits and services without the scrutiny of State and Federal agencies.
Legal Foundation and Private Contracting
Private association rights are not just limited to political or social activities, and it can be used by for business purpose like the sale of alcohol. Private membership associations retain the right to privately contract under the 5th privately and 14th Amendments establishing binding partnerships for goods and services. Under these circumstances as long as a private membership association has proper documentation they can transact in goods and services that may be regulated by the state and federal government. Private membership associations are still afforded all the rights and freedoms of an American citizen including the right to due process, should state official make inquiries into their operation and organization.
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