Prosecutor fired for going to "white preservationist" conference
marty.lederman at comcast.net
marty.lederman at comcast.net
Fri Mar 3 10:10:15 PST 2006
This issue arose a few years ago, back when some DOJ personnel were under investigation for appearing at the "Good Ol' Boys" gathering. Doctrinally, it's much more difficult than would would expect based only on a reading of Robel and like cases, and Pickering. In particular, even in Rankin -- the high-water mark for protection of government employee's speech rights -- the Court added this footnote:
"This is not to say that clerical employees are insulated from discharge where their speech, taking the acknowledged factors into account, truly injures the public interest in the effective functioning of the public employer. Cf. McMullen v. Carson, 754 F.2d 936 (CA11 1985) (clerical employee in sheriff's office properly discharged for stating on television news that he was an employee for the sheriff's office and a recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan)."
The issue usually arises where, as in Eugene's cited case, a public employee (e.g., law enforcement official), who is obligated to act without fear or favor (and without discrimination) in his official capacity, does something notorious in his personal capacity that might reasonably lead the public to question whether he would be even-handed in his official duties.
-------------- Original message ----------------------
From: "Volokh, Eugene" <VOLOKH at law.ucla.edu>
> Any thoughts on the First Amendment issues? The natural analogy, of
> course, is whether it was proper for prosecutors to be fired for similar
> Communist-related activities.
> >From the Hornell Evening Tribune
> March 3, 2006
> Allegany DA fires 'white preservationist' prosecutor: Firestorm erupts
> downstate, with call for investigation of DA's office; Alfred U. will
> still allow Michael Regan to serve as adjunct professor
> >From Wellsville Daily Reporter and Associated Press reports
> BELMONT - Allegany County Assistant District Attorney Michael Regan was
> fired from his job as a county prosecutor Thursday over his attendance
> at a conference of "white preservationists."
> Regan was terminated following an investigation by his boss, Allegany
> County District Attorney Terrence Parker, who said he had received
> numerous e-mails expressing concern about the assistant district
> attorney's presence at a meeting of the New Century Foundation in
> northern Virginia last week....
> "It has become clear that his recent activities will continue to
> significantly disrupt and impair his effectiveness as an assistant
> district attorney and the operations of the entire district attorney's
> office," Parker said.
> Regan was quoted in Saturday's Washington Post as calling participants
> at the conference "white preservationists" rather than white
> supremacists, and saying U.S. policies on immigration, trade and
> demographics have put the country on the wrong path. He declined to
> comment in the days that followed....
> Wellsville Attorney Bill Gunner said he has opposed Regan in court and
> has never seen any "bigotry or bias toward any particular ethnic or
> religious group." ...
> The Anti-Defamation League characterizes the New Century Foundation's
> ideology as "intellectualized, pseudoscientific white supremacy" and
> said the group promotes "genteel" racism.
> The ADL's regional director for New York was among those who wrote to
> Parker, noting the article also quoted Regan as saying: "You can see
> European Christian Americans are an endangered species." ...
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