Yes Government Workers Beware: Free Speech doesn’t apply to you!
(ThyBlackMan.com) A federal appeals court ruled against Crystal Dixon, a former associate vice president for human resources at the University of Toledo, who is suing the public University for firing her because of an opinion column she wrote in the Toledo Free Press in 2008.
Her column which was written as a private citizen in the privacy of her home; was a critique of an article written by the editor of the paper; in which he equated gay rights to civil rights.
On Monday a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals was the third court to rule that Ms. Dixon was rightfully fired by the University because her positions were in contradiction with the state university’s mission. The three-judge panel wrote:
…”there is evidence establishing that she was a policymaker who engaged in speech on a policy issue related to her position. The government’s interests thus outweigh Dixon’s interests as a matter of law”.
Translation …your right to express private speech was served a cease and desist order when you accepted this government job! The opinions of the state are supreme!
Apparently… at least according to these justices, you can have a private opinion and express it, as long as it is the same as your government employer. If not, you better keep it to yourself!
The justices noted this in their opinion even though their was no evidence that Ms. Dixon ever acted improperly as an HR administrator, nor were their any accusations that her religious beliefs in any way effected her job performance or influenced her hiring decisions.
But… she had the audacity to say something in the public square that lead the President of UT, Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, to say that her opinions didn’t comply with the “Safe Place” values of the University, as well as his own personal views and therefore he needed to repudiate her private views… and make an example of her. His statement included this deterrent to any other would-be violators:
“We will be taking certain internal actions in this instance to more fully align our utterances and actions with this value system”.
Statements like these I’m sure would make Marx, Lenin and Mao stand and applaud.
Her views were not expressed on company time or a state-owned computer, nor did she address the HR policies of her government employer in the column; but they were expressed under the would-be first amendment protections of her own home and computer in which she respectfully dissented to an opinion piece of a local newspaper.
She was fired because of it….This is wrong and dangerous on so many levels.
It completely perverts the first amendment, by increasing the powers of the state and decreasing the powers of its citizens.
It reeks of workplace fascism and economic tyranny.
And it sets a precedent for the suppression of speech and the control of public dissent by the state thru employment.
Lets not forget the government is currently the largest employer in the U.S.!
This is precisely what our founding fathers didn’t want to happen, because it sets the stage for despotism and tyrannical governments.
Isn’t this one of the reasons why they created the first amendment; in order to protect Americans from punitive measures…simply because their speech is deemed unpopular or counter to public policy?
Since public universities were founded and are heavily influenced by state governments and receive tax-payer dollars; they do indeed qualify as a state entity or a ward of the state.
Then why are government employees being forced to surrender their first and most sacred right to express the freedom of speech, whether it be private words or by signing a petition or taking a counter-cultural stance in the public square? Regardless of the position they hold within that government entity.
Isn’t this what the first amendment of the highest law of the land clearly gives them the right to do?
Yes it does!.. Their is nothing narrow or ambiguous about it. And I know most Americans would agree. At least I would hope so.
I know for sure that Ms. Dixon and for that matter Dr. Angela McCaskill who works for Gallaudet, a University that receives most of its annual income from tax-payers, would agree that they didn’t give up their first amendment rights when they decided to work for a government entity.
And if you are a government employee neither should you!