Monday, November 8, 2010

Michigan Assistant AG Terminated: First Amendment Issue?

Recall the Michigan Assistant AG who claimed he was engaging in political speech in a campaign against the gay university student body president? 

The state AG, Mike Cox, terminated him today.  According to reporter David Jesse at

Cox said Shirvell was fired for "conduct unbecoming a state employee, especially that of an assistant attorney general."

"To be clear, I refuse to fire anyone for exercising their First Amendment rights, regardless of how popular or unpopular their positions might be," Cox said in the statement. "However, Mr. Shirvell repeatedly violated office policies, engaged in borderline stalking behavior, and inappropriately used state resources, our investigation showed.

Cox's investigation into Shirvell showed he:

  • Showed up at Armstrong's home three separate times, including once at 1:30 a.m. "That incident is especially telling because it clearly was about harassing Mr. Armstrong, not engaging in free speech," the statement said.
  • "Engaged in behavior that, while not perhaps sufficient to charge criminal stalking, was harassing, uninvited and showed a pattern that was in the everyday sense, stalking."
  • Harassed Armstrong's friends as they were socializing in Ann Arbor.Called Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office, Armstrong's employer, in an attempt to "slander Armstrong and ultimately attempting to cause Pelosi to fire Armstrong.
  • Attempted to "out" Armstrong's friends as homosexual — several of whom aren't gay.

Although Shervill successfully appealed his ban from the UM campus, he may be facing ethics complaints before the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission. 


First Amendment, News, Speech | Permalink

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