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A lawsuit being heard this month will likely define the free speech rights of federal employees and so determine the quality of people who will make up our government.

On January 8, 2010, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Library of Congress on behalf of Col. Morris Davis. The former chief prosecutor for the Guantánamo military commissions was fired from his job at the Library’s Congressional Research Service (CRS) because of opinion pieces he wrote about the commissions system that ran in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. Both pieces were written by Davis in his personal capacity, made clear that he was writing as a private individual and former chief prosecutor of the military commissions and made no mention of CRS. Davis wrote the pieces on his home computer during non-work hours.

The lawsuit charges that CRS violated Davis’s right to free speech and due process when it fired him for speaking as a private citizen about matters having nothing to do with his job there.

Article of origin includes links to documentation

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (16+ / 0-)

    Deal With It When You Die Steven R. Brungard 1 E Manor Ave Rear Enola, PA, 17025 US 717 732 7222 steve@religion-of-one.org

    by stevenb on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 06:30:43 AM PST

  •  Gee, that looks like a really good (5+ / 0-)

    case.

    There is a tendency among some authoritarians to look upon the obligation to respect speech as designed to let the agents of government be forewarned about dissatisfaction that might escalate into insurrection. It's this line of thinking which justifies spying in the context of "protecting the nation" or "national security."

    Respect for individual human rights is not universally accepted.

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 06:36:32 AM PST

  •  Govnt employees cannot speak the truth? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, Horace Boothroyd III, marina

    What kind of government will we have if ideological purity is imposed on government employees?

    Obama has already prosecuted more whistle blowers than any other president in history and it continues.

    The political system and courts have been bought out.

    Can the constitution survive?

    This is another important case to follow.

    OWS is fighting the decline of an empire with problems everywhere and a system that pushes them down the path and claims that they are so complex that nothing can be done about them. Yes, that is true within the existing system.

    •  regardless of truth or opinion or psychotic rant.. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Horace Boothroyd III, marina, myboo

      ... the principle has got to be protected that job retaliation including firing, for protected speech where no workplace resources are involved (on your own time, your own computer), is anathema to a free society and cannot be tolerated.

      There's no need to threaten to put people in prison for speech if you can merely threaten them with loss of their job and home.  Those kinds of sanctions are if anything more effective censorship than the threat of incarceration.  

      And it can also be argued that a legal right of private-sector employers to fire employees for off-work exercises of protected speech, also constitutes a 1st A violation because the failure of Congress to forbid it is logically equivalent to Congress endorsing it (simple Boolean logic).  

      "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 07:29:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's fine if one accepts that it's a boolean (0+ / 0-)

        condition. It's not, though, as there are three possible conditions (Congress does nothing, Congress forbids it, Congress endorses it) rather than two.

        However, I do think it is rather deplorable that private companies can fire whomever they like for exercising free speech. I do not think the freedom of assembly for a business owner trumps the freedom of speech of the individual, and Congress ought to make this distinction explicit.

        •  Do you oppose the formation of boycotts against a (0+ / 0-)

          company when the CEO exercises freedom of speech (as the CEO of Whole Foods did) which could then result in employees losing their jobs from lower sales if the boycott is successful?

          Would you oppose firing an employee making legal anti black, Jewish, gay, etc. speech ?

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 09:19:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your questions are irrelevant and designed to (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek

            poison the well by attempting to catch me in a 'gotcha,' either by accusing me (implicitly)  of hypocrisy or some other fallacious nonsense.

            •  People frequently confuse Freedom of Speech (0+ / 0-)

              with only supporting speech they agree with.  

              In addition, the constitutional right of freedom of speech does not mean that other people are not free to react to speech by changing their behavior with the speaker whether it is doing business with the speaker as a customer or doing business with the speaker as an employee.

              The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

              by nextstep on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 10:08:30 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  red herring. stolen wheelbarrow. fail. n/t (0+ / 0-)

            "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 04:32:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  So, what position did you take (0+ / 0-)

        when the CEO  (legally an employee) of Whole Foods wrote an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal criticizing Health Care reform and then many here encouraged a boycott of Whole Foods demanding that the Whole Foods Board fire the CEO for writing the Op-Ed?

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 01:24:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There you go again! (0+ / 0-)

          Red herring.  Stolen wheelbarrow.  Fail.  

          "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 04:33:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So you believe freedom of speech only applies (0+ / 0-)

            to people you agree with - which means you don't really believe in Freedom of Speech.

            The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

            by nextstep on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 05:11:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  goad, goad, goad. (0+ / 0-)

              Sorry, I won't take the bait.  

              "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

              by G2geek on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 05:33:14 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

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