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Sotomayor--You CAN Say That!:

Given my interest in protecting the First Amendment from overzealous anti-discrimination rules, I was heartened to discover Judge Sotomayor's dissent in Pappas v. Giuliani. As Sotomayor summarized the majority opinion:

The Court holds that the government does not violate the First Amendment when it fires a police department employee for racially inflammatory speech - where the speech consists of mailings in which the employee did not identify himself, let alone connect himself to the police department; where the speech occurred away from the office and on the employee's own time; where the employee's position involved no policymaking authority or public contact; where there is virtually no evidence of workplace disruption resulting directly from the speech; and where it ultimately required the investigatory resources of two police departments to bring the speech to the attention of the community.

I've argued that police departments should be allowed to fire beat cops who publicly engage in racist speech or behavior. But anonymous speech by an employee of the police department's Management Information Systems Division with no evidence of prejudice to the police department's reputation or functioning is a different story. Pappas's views on race relations were simply not relevant to his job qualifications, and firing him therefore violated the First Amendment.

Comments open for four hours.

JC:
A supporter of First Amendment freedoms, I am likewise pleased with Sotomayor's dissent in Pappas. However, I am curious how you (and others here) feel about her joining the panel in Doninger v. Niehoff, a student-speech case. The text of the opinion is available here.
5.26.2009 7:20pm
federale86 (mail) (www):
So, can we start firing communists and islamists who have infiltrated government?
5.26.2009 7:24pm
/:
So, can we start firing communists and islamists who have infiltrated government?


That's the opposite of diversity.
5.26.2009 9:47pm
CJColucci:
So, can we start firing communists and islamists who have infiltrated government?

By any chance do you have, in your hand, a list? Perhaps you're a little unsure about the numbers?
5.26.2009 9:56pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
JC: that's one of those cases where I want everyone to lose. You've got petty school officials punishing students for trivialities, and schmucky parents who bring lawsuits because their kids didn't get to run for a student government position.
5.27.2009 5:04am
Smooth, Like a Rhapsody (mail):
I am looking for the amicus brief from the Fuhrman Institute, but I can't seem to locate it.
5.27.2009 11:01am

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