It seems like every day that passes, Americans watch as their Constitutional rights are stripped away.
While some Americans simply stand by and watch it happen, more and more are pushing back on any infringement of their rights.
And now a US Circuit Court just delivered a shocking ruling after a man says the local school district violated his rights.
Teacher told to “use his better judgment” when he brought a MAGA hat to work
Eric Dodge has been fighting for freedom of speech in the state of Washington since 2019.
The school teacher was attending required training when he was told that he couldn’t bring a “Make America Great Again” hat to the training.
Dodge says he wore the hat on the way to the training, but he took it off before actually going into the building.
But a principal from another school noticed his hat and she took offense.
Caroline Garrett from Wy’East Middle School asked Dodge, “What is the [expletive] deal with you and your hat!” and suggested that he “use his better judgment.”
She then threatened him and said he should bring his union rep if they were to see each other again.
Garrett claimed that she was simply trying to prevent “disruption among staff” but US District Judge Danielle Forrest just ruled that Garrett’s “administrative interest” didn’t “outweigh” Dodge’s right to free speech.
Judge says political speech is “inherently controversial” but “quintessential example of protected speech”
Judge Forrest made a profound assessment of the case in her writing for the majority of the panel.
She said, “political speech is the quintessential example of protected speech, and it is inherently controversial.”
She explained that “some may not like the political message being conveyed” but that “cannot itself be a basis for finding disruption . . . that outweighs the speaker’s First Amendment rights.”
Dodge’s case was first ruled in favor of the defendant by US District Judge, Thomas Robart.
He argued that Garrett’s actions didn’t violate “clearly established statutory or constitutional rights” and were thus protected by qualified immunity.
He said that Dodge had created “disharmony” in the workplace and that “Mr. Dodge’s right to wear his MAGA hat was not so ‘clearly established’ as to defeat Ms. Garrett’s assertion of qualified immunity.”
This ruling didn’t stand up well upon appeal.
Circuit court says Garret “retaliated” against Dodge over differing political ideologies
The circuit court ruled that “taking the facts in the light most favorable to Dodge, a jury could find that Principal Garrett retaliated against him for engaging in political speech protected by the First Amendment.”
They further explained that “any violation of Dodge’s First Amendment rights by Principal Garrett was clearly established” and that “longstanding precedent has held that concern over the reaction to controversial or disfavored speech itself does not justify restricting such speech.”
The panel further cited other political messaging that Garrett seemed to allow.
The school library had a Black Lives Matter poster displayed and the principal herself had a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker.
They also noted Dodge’s claim that he did not wear the hat “in class, around parents, or in front of kids.”
They said this was further evidence that he wasn’t wearing the messaging as a public employee but as a private citizen.
It is unclear if the case will be appealed, but for now it’s a solid win for free speech.
US Political Daily will keep you up-to-date on any developments in this story.