David Habecker, town trustee of Estes Park, Colorado, was recalled by the voters "in a recall election dominated by the issue of whether those voters wished to continue to be represented by a trustee who had refused to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance at trustee meetings." So, of course, he sued, claiming that his removal from office violated his rights under the First Amendment and the Religious Test Clause.
Last week, the federal district court rejected his claim (Habecker v. Town of Estes Park, 2006 WL 2709589 (D. Colo.)), concluding that the recall proponents and the voters were acting as private citizens rather than as state actors, and thus weren't bound by the Constitution: They were free to throw an official out of office for whatever reason they pleased. As importantly, the court implicitly concluded that judges were not empowered to keep in office someone whom the voters had thrown out. Good decision.
Related Posts (on one page):
- Elected Official's Suit Over Pledge of Allegiance, and Over His Having Been Recalled Because He Wouldn't Say It:
- Voters Still Have a Right to Choose Officials for Whatever Reason They Want: