A Federal Judge just handed down a huge ruling on the First Amendment


The First and Second Amendments have been under intense debate in the courts lately. And that’s only just the beginning.

Now a Federal Judge has handed down a massive ruling on the First Amendment that you have to read.

Since 2019, Eric Dodge has fought for the right to free expression in the state of Washington.

The school educator was informed that he was not permitted to wear a “Make America Great Again” hat while attending necessary training.

Dodge claims that when traveling to the training, he was wearing the hat, but that he removed it before entering the structure.

However, a principal from another school took offense when she saw his headwear.

Caroline Garrett from Wy’East Middle School asked Dodge, “What is the [expletive] deal with you and your hat!” while advising him to “use his better judgment.”

She immediately yelled at him and demanded that if they ever crossed paths again, he bring his union representative.

However, US District Judge Danielle Forrest recently decided that Garrett’s “administrative interest” did not “outweigh” Dodge’s right to free expression. Garrett had said that she was only attempting to stop “disruption among staff.”

In her writing for the majority of the panel, Judge Forrest provided a comprehensive analysis of the case.

Political speech, according to her, is the classic illustration of protected expression and is inevitably divisive.

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.”

Thomas Robart, a US District Judge, first decided in favor of the defendant in Dodge’s case.

He claimed that Garrett’s acts were protected by qualified immunity since they did not infringe on “clearly established statutory or constitutional rights.”

He claimed that Dodge had caused “discord” at work and that Ms. Garrett’s claim of qualified immunity had not been defeated by Mr. Dodge’s right to wear a MAGA hat.

On appeal, this decision did not hold up very well.

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 went on to say that any First Amendment rights violations by Principal Garrett were “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 also mentioned other political messages that Garrett appeared to permit.

A Black Lives Matter sign was on display in the school library, while the principal sported a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker.

The allegation made by Dodge that he did not wear the hat “in class, around parents, or in front of kids” was also highlighted.

They claimed that there was additional proof that he was wearing the messaging as a private person and not a state servant.

Although it is unknown if the case will be challenged, it is already a significant victory for free expression.

Stay tuned to the Federalist Wire.