The ACLU's Colorado franchise filed an amicus brief Monday in the never-ending legal battle Churchill v. The World, claiming reinstatement of Churchill to his position with the ethnic studies program at CU is "an appropriate remedy in First Amendment cases."
The ACLU submits this brief to raise serious constitutional and policy concerns implicated [sic] by the appellate court’s multiple erroneous holdings. The appellate court’s decision requiring an employee to show an “adverse employment action” unduly narrows the scope of constitutional protection for all public employees who suffer retaliation for engaging in protected speech on matters of public concern. Its decision broadly expanding common law quasi-judicial immunity to the University’s Board of Regents creates incentives for all public employers to restructure their employment decision-making process to foreclose employees from pursuing any claim that a public employer fired them for reasons of race, gender, religion, or any other category protected by the Constitution or anti-discrimination statutes. Finally, the decision extending Section 1983’s bar on injunctive relief against “judicial officers” to the University’s Board of Regents forecloses a fundamental and essential remedy for plaintiffs who, as did Ward Churchill, prove to a jury that they were fired because of their constitutionally protected speech. What is more, the policies underlying the 1996 amendments to Section 1983 are not even at issue in this case because the Board members are not, and will not ever be, subjected to liability for attorneys’ fees.