March 30, 2011

Col. Morris Davis Fired For Speaking Out About Military Commissions

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NEW YORK – A federal court today ruled that a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of former Guantánamo lead prosecutor Col. Morris Davis against the Library of Congress can go forward. Col. Davis was fired from his job at the Library’s Congressional Research Service (CRS) because of opinion pieces he published in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post about the Guantánamo military commissions system.

The lawsuit charges that CRS violated Col. Davis’ right to free speech and due process when it fired him for speaking as a private citizen about matters having nothing to do with his job at CRS. The defendants in the case, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and CRS Director Daniel P. Mulhollan, both filed motions to dismiss the case. Today, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton of the District of Columbia denied those motions.

The following can be attributed to Aden Fine, staff attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project:

“Individuals do not surrender their First Amendment rights to comment on matters of public interest when they become public employees. The Library of Congress violated Col. Davis’s rights when it fired him for speaking on a matter of great public importance. Today’s decision ensures that Col. Davis will have the chance to stand up for his rights in court, and it will hopefully send a message to all government employers that they cannot fire people just because they express their personal opinions in public.”

More information about the case, including today’s ruling, is available online at:


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