Michigan attorney general Mike Cox went on CNN last night to defend Andrew Shirvell, his assistant attorney general who writes a childish rage blog attacking University of Michigan's gay student body president. Why won't he discipline Shirvell? First Amendment, dummies!
Shirvell, who has written a nasty gossip blog attacking a gay student politician, Chris Armstrong, and his "radical agenda" for about six month — and even held a protest on the kid's front lawn — had no idea how pathetic his crusade is when Anderson Cooper interviewed him two nights ago. He just kept saying that he's free to practice his political activism, despite being an assistant attorney general, to which Cooper replied over and over, "Yeah but he's a college president, guy, why do you give half a shit?" (Paraphrase.)
Cooper followed up last night with Shirvell's boss, Mike Cox, who cited Supreme Court cases defending government employees' rights to express their beliefs outside of work. Cooper brought up the fact that he's still showing conduct unbecoming of a state employee, which Cox brushed off, saying he doesn't like Shirvell's comments either, but hey, free speech! As law professor Jonathan Turley noted, however, the fact that Shirvell picketed on Armstrong's lawn "comes very, very close to stalking. There could be civil liability here. And I think that that moves this away from free speech into conduct. And that does - that is a legitimate basis for discipline."
So you legal-minded nerds out there can toss this around. But if you were a state prosecutor, and one of your deputies was writing this blog, wouldn't you maybe ask him to stop? Because it's insane? People lose jobs over personal blogs all the time, and most of them aren't nearly this stupid.