A parent in the Gloucester, Massachusetts, school district has gone to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to correct an apparent mistake made by a district court, which dismissed a lawsuit over his 1st Amendment posting of a recording of conversations with school officials.
The case, brought by Inge Berge against the school and officials Ben Lummis, Roberta A. Eason and Stephanie Delisi, has attracted a friend-of-the-court brief from the Institute for Justice.
The fight was over the school's threat to bring legal action against Berge over his decision to visit with school officials, record the conversations and post them online.
That's classical 1st Amendment-protected speech, the IJ said.
TRENDING: Hamas' plan for Israel
The IJ said its brief was submitted to the appeals court in the case that seeks "to overturn a lower court’s ruling that shielded school administrators in Gloucester, Massachusetts, from accountability after they threatened a parent with legal action for recording and posting his public interaction with the school superintendent’s office."
It was last year that Berge wanted tickets to his daughter's middle-school play, but found they were sold out because of the school's audience-limiting COVID-19 agenda.
WND is now on Trump's Truth Social! Follow us @WNDNews
"Upset that he might miss his daughter’s play, he went to the superintendent’s office – which was open to the public – to ask if there was any way to create an exception so he could buy a ticket. Berge openly and obviously recorded his visit to the superintendent’s office and his discussion with the officials. He remained calm as he spoke with the officials, two of whom refused to talk while being recorded, and a third who said he would look into the situation," the IJ reported.
Then Berge posted his recordings online and within hours the school threatened him with "legal repercussions" if he didn't remove the videos.
"This blatant effort to suppress Berge’s speech was based on a statute that only prohibits 'secret' recordings – but the letter itself made clear that there was nothing secret about what Berge did," the IJ said.
He filed a First Amendment retaliation lawsuit and the school abruptly withdrew its demand letter.
At district court, a judge dismissed Berge’s retaliation lawsuit, claiming officials were shielded by qualified immunity – a judicial doctrine that shields government officials from civil liability unless the unconstitutionality of their conduct was "clearly established," the IJ said.
But the IJ charged that qualified immunity doesn't apply.
"Some rights violations are so obvious that plaintiffs don’t have to go on scavenger hunts for previous cases with similar facts in order to move forward with a lawsuit," said IJ Attorney Jaba Tsitsuashvili. "School officials knew their threat of legal action against Mr. Berge was baseless, which is why they immediately rescinded their threat once he fought back."
IJ is urging the appeals court to reverse the decision and allow Berge’s First Amendment retaliation claims to move forward.
"Premeditated retaliation against someone for their First Amendment-protected speech is not the type of 'split-second' decision that even proponents of qualified immunity ever contemplated the doctrine protecting," said IJ 's Anna Goodman.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Long the world’s most Christian nation, America today is being taken over by a new “official” national religion, one being imposed on the entire populace by every major societal institution, from government, media and big tech, to academia, entertainment and business.
This new state religion is Wokeism. “Going woke” conjures up visions of someone claiming to be acutely sensitive (“awake”) to “systemic social and political injustice.” And not just alleged bigotry against blacks, but toward every other “minority” as well, from LGBT folk – especially everything transgender and “nonbinary” – to “undocumented immigrants.” All of them, being VICTIMS, intrinsically more virtuous than the shameful oppressor class: primarily heterosexual white males.
This new “woke” consciousness has turned America upside-down – from the nationwide Antifa and Black Lives Matter riots in 2020, to tearing down of historic monuments, to demanding multi-million-dollar reparation payments for blacks, to appointing transgenders as top government officials, to rampant reverse discrimination in every area of life, to the U.S. military imposing mandatory “diversity training” and transgender pronoun use on all personnel, causing recruitment to disastrously plummet.
Yet there is hope. Being “saved” – which in Wokeism is called being “woke” – is largely a matter of worshipping victimhood by becoming an “ally” and “defender” of all the many victim classes, and a determined enemy of the straight white male oppressor class. Thus, “joining the righteous” as an ally – even if one is cursed to be a straight white male – opens the door mercifully for salvation, even to the most wretched.
That is the power of the religion of Wokeism. And it’s explored as never before in the February 2023 issue of WND’s critically acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine. If you’ve ever wondered, for example, exactly how the most radical elements in American society are successfully pressuring the biggest corporations into adopting the most outrageous and immoral policies imaginable, even when doing so permanently damages and devalues the company, the stunning answers are in this issue of Whistleblower, titled “WOKEISM: AMERICA’S OFFICIAL STATE RELIGION.”
For 25 years, WND has boldly brought you the news that really matters. If you appreciate our Christian journalists and their uniquely truthful reporting and analysis, please help us by becoming a WND Insider!
Content created by the WND News Center is available for re-publication without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].