Wednesday, September 29, 2010
I can't make this stuff up. From CNN and Anderson Cooper (with video):
For nearly six months, Andrew Shirvell, an assistant attorney general for the state of Michigan, has waged an internet campaign against college student Chris Armstrong, the openly gay student assembly president at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Using the online moniker "Concerned Michigan Alumnus," Shirvell launched his blog in late April.
"Welcome to 'Chris Armstrong Watch,'" Shirvell wrote in his inaugural blog post. "This is a site for concerned University of Michigan alumni, students, and others who oppose the recent election of Chris Armstrong -- a RADICAL HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVIST, RACIST, ELITIST, & LIAR -- as the new head of student government."
Among other things, Shirvell has published blog posts that accuse Armstrong of going back on a campaign promise he made to minority students; engaging in "flagrant sexual promiscuity" with another male member of the student government; sexually seducing and influencing "a previously conservative [male] student" so much so that the student, according to Shirvell, "morphed into a proponent of the radical homosexual agenda;" hosting a gay orgy in his dorm room in October 2009; and trying to recruit incoming first year students "to join the homosexual 'lifestyle.' "
I am thinking these comments are those of a seriously mentally ill person. The question is should Shirvell be continued to be employed as a representative of the State of Michigan?
Shirvell talks of being a Christian citizen exercising his First Amendment rights on his own time, but even off-duty speech or actions can have an impact on someone's public employment. Because he is now identified as Michigan state attorney and his craziness is national news, can't it be said that he is substantially disrupting the Michigan Attorney General office by becoming the news and undermining the impartiality and good judgment of his office. Under a Pickering balance, the analysis would appear to support adverse employment action against Shirvell to protect the effectiveness and efficiency of the government service.
I think if he is fired, which he should be for his asinine condut, the State of Michigan should be free of First Amendment liability, whether he is talking as a private citzen and whether he refuses to discuss his public employment himself.
Hat Tip: Denise Faili