TheHill reports federal workers lost a court challenge to a government rule banning them from having conversations about opposing President Trump or impeaching him.
U.S. District Court Judge Paula Xinis in Maryland ruled this week that the union representing the workers did not sufficiently demonstrate that the rule violated their First Amendment rights.
Xinis, who was appointed by former President Obama, wrote in her ruling that the plaintiffs did not provide “any specific allegation as to how the Advisory Opinion interferes with their First Amendment rights.”
She added that the plaintiffs argued “simply that their members’ speech is ‘chilled’ if the Advisory Opinion is allowed to stand, but provide little reason as to why.”
“The Court finds that Plaintiffs have failed both to aver claims fit for judicial review and to convince this Court that the balance of hardships weighs in their favor. Because Plaintiffs’ claims are not ripe, this Court lacks jurisdiction to hear them,” she ruled.
The Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal agency, first warned in 2018 before Trump’s impeachment that it would deem statements on resistance and impeachment to violate a federal law prohibiting federal workers from supporting or opposing political candidates in their official capacities.
The American Federation of Government Employees had argued that the guidelines expanded beyond the law’s bounds and infringed on its members’ freedom of speech.