October 17, 2018

BADMINTON?:

Chief Who Was Fired for Marriage Views Wins Major First Amendment Victory (Monica Burke, October 16, 2018, Daily Signal)

In a major victory for free speech, the city of Atlanta has awarded former Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran with $1.2 million after violating his First Amendment rights. [...]

In December 2017, a federal district court ruled that the city's treatment of Cochran had violated his constitutional right to free speech. The court affirmed that the city cannot police non-work speech, nor can it target views with which it does not agree.

The court pointed out how the city's over-broad "pre-clearance" rules, which stipulate that the government must sign off on what materials can be disseminated at work, impede free speech.

"This policy would prevent an employee from writing and selling a book on golf or badminton on his own time and, without prior approval, would subject him to firing. It is unclear to the court how such an outside employment would ever affect the city's ability to function, and the city provides no evidence to justify it," the court found. "The potential for stifled speech far outweighs any unsupported assertion of harm."

Such arbitrary standards are unconstitutional.

This ruling was an important win for free speech because it reaffirmed that the government cannot censor views it happens to disagree with.

Now, city officials have taken action to restore justice. On Monday, the city council awarded $1.2 million in damages and attorneys' fees to Cochran and his attorneys.

Posted by at October 17, 2018 5:35 PM

  

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