The Chronicle quotes Carleton on Supreme Court First Amendment case

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The Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to take up a First Amendment case evaluating the right of a public-college board to censure one of its members—a case that could “have broad implications for boards and free speech.” Houston Community College Board of Trustees voted to censure Board member David B. Wilson in 2018, after Wilson had filed several lawsuits against the college, arranged a private investigation into another board colleague’s residency in her district, and backed robocalls protesting the college’s operations in Qatar.

Wilson called the censure a violation of his First Amendment rights. A district court disagreed with Wilson, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit sided with him, writing elected officials should speak out regarding matters of public concern. Houston Community College’s lawyers petitioned the Supreme Court for further review, stating in their appeal that a censure is a “quintessential form of government speech.” Higher education partner Melissa Carleton said in the article “censure is a ‘go-to tool’ that boards use to take action against ‘problem children,’” noting that sometimes trustees have legitimate points, and the board can be “the problem child.” Carleton said the case could also be characterized as one “about government shutting down speech.”

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