Monday, June 14, 2010

Blair v. Bethel School District (9th Cir. - June 14, 2010)

Name a situation -- if you can -- in which it's okay for a state actor to retaliate against someone for that person's expression of protected First Amendment speech; in particular, speech that concerns a public issue and does not cause disruption or any other untoward effects.

I'll put the question another way. An individual exercises his First Amendment right to criticize a public figure. He's unpopular as a result.

Various state actors disagree with the individual's views, and as a result, they remove him as the vice-president of a particular Board. They concede that they did so in response to his views and his protected First Amendment statements.

Surely that's a violation of the individual's civil rights, right?

I agree. There are some cases when retaliating against someone based upon their protected speech -- or even their political views -- is okay. This is one of them.