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Aclu Brief

Aclu Brief

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Published by: efuchs160 on Aug 08, 2012
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12-1671
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALSFOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
 _________________________ 
BOBBY BLAND; DANIEL RAY CARTER, JR.;DAVID W. DIXON; ROBERT W. MCCOY;JOHN C. SANDHOFER; DEBRA H. WOODWARD,
 Plaintiffs–Appellants
,
v.
B.J. ROBERTS, individually and in his official capacity asSheriff of the City of Hampton, Virginia,
 Defendant–Appellee
.
ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, NEWPORT NEWS DIVISION
BRIEF OF
 AMICI CURIAE 
AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNIONAND ACLU OF VIRGINIA IN SUPPORT OFPLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS’ APPEAL SEEKING REVERSAL
Aden J. FineKathryn A. WoodAmerican Civil Liberties UnionFoundation125 Broad Street, 18th Floor  New York, NY 10004(212) 549-2500Rebecca K. GlenbergAmerican Civil Liberties Unionof Virginia Foundation, Inc.530 E. Main Street, Suite 310Richmond, VA 23219(804) 644-8080
Appeal: 12-1671 Doc: 20 Filed: 08/06/2012 Pg: 1 of 38
 
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF AUTHORITIES ....................................................................................... i
INTEREST OF
 AMICI CURIAE 
................................................................................. 1
STATEMENT OF FACTS .......................................................................................... 1
SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT ................................................................................... 3
ARGUMENT ............................................................................................................... 5
I.
PLAINTIFFS’ SPEECH IS CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED..... 5
A.
“Liking” Something On Facebook Is Protected By The First AmendmentBoth As Pure Speech And As Symbolic Expression.
........................................5
B.
First Amendment Protection Does Not Hinge On The Clarity Or ValueOf The Speech.
............................................................................................................10
C.
Internet Speech Enjoys the Same First Amendment Protection asTraditional Forms of Speech.
...................................................................................13
II.
A PUBLIC EMPLOYEE’S COMMENT ABOUT A POLITICALCANDIDATE INVOLVES A MATTER OF PUBLIC CONCERNAND IS THEREFORE SUBJECT TO THE
PICKERING  
 BALANCING TEST. .................................................................................... 15
A.
Expressing Approval Or Disapproval Of A Political Candidate Is SpeechOn A Matter Of Public Concern.
............................................................................16
B.
Speech Does Not Have To Be Public In Order To Be Considered AMatter Of Public Concern.
........................................................................................20
C.
The
 Pickering 
Balancing Test Favors The Plaintiffs.
........................................21
III.
DEFENDANT IS NOT ENTITLED TO QUALIFIED IMMUNITYBECAUSE HE VIOLATED PLAINTIFFS’ CLEARLYESTABLISHED FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS. .................................. 22
A.
The Allegedly Complex And Fact Intensive Nature of the
 Pickering 
Inquiry Does Not Mean Defendant Is Entitled to Qualified Immunity onPlaintiffs’ Free Speech Claims.
...............................................................................22
Appeal: 12-1671 Doc: 20 Filed: 08/06/2012 Pg: 2 of 38
 
 
B.
Because None of The Plaintiffs Were Policymakers, Their AssociationalRights Were Protected by the First Amendment.
...............................................25
CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................ 30
Appeal: 12-1671 Doc: 20 Filed: 08/06/2012 Pg: 3 of 38

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