The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 22nd, 2014
A federal appeals court has cleared the way for a former
art-galleries director at Stephen F. Austin State University to try to
paint several administrators there as having trampled his First
Amendment rights in order to appease a U.S. congressman he had defied
and harshly criticized.
In a ruling
handed down last week, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the Fifth Circuit rejected the administrators’ bid to have the
former galleries director’s lawsuit dismissed, saying the administrators
should have known they risked violating his free-speech rights in
pushing him out of his job after his clash with Rep. Louis B. (Louie)
Gohmert Jr., a Republican.
The university falls within Representative Gohmert’s Congressional
district, in northeastern Texas. The former galleries director,
Christian Cutler, ran afoul of Mr. Gohmert in September 2010 after the
congressman’s office sought Mr. Cutler's involvement in staging a
high-school art contest.