If a state employee is subjected to a retaliatory investigation because she made politically controversial statements, or complained of race or gender discrimination, does she have a legal remedy? How about university employees fired because of their race, gender, or First Amendment-protected speech?
In 1871 Congress passed a law (42 U.S.C. §1983) to deter state officials from violating the federal constitution, and to provide remedies when they do. Are Colorado officials exempt?
These are the issues for the Colorado Supreme Court in Churchill v. University of Colorado.
Click here to read Ward Churchill’s Opening Brief. Amicus briefs have been filed by (1) the ACLU and (2) the National Lawyers Guild, Center for Constitutional Rights, Colorado Conference of the AAUP, Society of American Law Teachers, National Conference of Black Lawyers, Latina/o Critical Legal Theory, and individual attorneys and law professors.
After response and reply briefs are filed, oral arguments will be scheduled, probably in early 2012.