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Tennessee ethics lawyer wins new chance to seek damages after being fired for tweets about Islam

This is a significant win for the freedom of expression against a tide that has been usurping the rights of citizens.

Gerald Dean Morgan merely asked the question in a tweet: “Where’s the evidence that ‘Islam is a religion of peace?” This was a reasonable question about an ideology. His firing sent the message that Islam is off limits and must never be questioned. But of course, criticizing Islam does not in any way imply a belief that all Muslims are evil. If anyone deserves to be fired, it should be disciplinary counsel Sandra Garrett, who was responsible for the firing of Morgan, since she has demonstrated an intolerance to the scrutiny of ideas which some may perceive as “controversial.” Garrett thus revealed her loyalties, which are clearly to the court of public opinion, not to the court of law. In ethics law particularly, the scrutiny of ideas should be impartial, not subject to favor or any attempt to protect the ideologies of special interest groups.

Sandra Garrett has in effect demonstrated unethical subservience to the shenanigans of one special interest group, Islamic supremacist lobbies. Impartiality and the right to criticize are not only critical attributes in ethical law (and in the law overall); they are mandatory.

Let’s hope that Morgan makes a good example out of those who backed his firing. Beyond “backpay,” the reprehensible action of his employer was an assault on Morgan’s reputation. He must now fight to restore it, which includes fight back against the public smear against him as anti-Muslim or “Islamophobic.”

Morgan’s case also transcends him personally. He and is team are now fighting for a whole profession, which has been threatened in the face of damaging encroachments on America’s freedoms. Relevant to Morgan’s case is the fact that recently, Stanford Law School descended into barbarism and refused to let conservative judge Kyle Duncan deliver a speech, because Duncan refused to accept in 2020 that a male sex offender was a woman. The judge faced the roaring wrath of Stanford’s future Leftist lawyers who shouted Duncan down, while the school’s “associate dean of diversity” lectured him publicly. What an ominous sign for the future of law in America. Stanford Law Dean Jenny Martinez eventually apologized after a public outcry. For this apology, “she faced a chilling scene. Hundreds of black-clad students wearing masks over their faces stood menacing around her chanting.”

Garrett and many others like her seem to have given up and surrendered to intimidating Islamic supremacist and woke mobs. This highly disturbing trend needs to stop before its too late. America’s future depends on it.

“Ethics lawyer fired for tweets about Islam can seek damages,” by Mike Scarcella, Reuters, March 21, 2023:

A former Tennessee state legal ethics attorney who was fired in 2020 over social media posts about Islam has won a new chance to pursue employment-related damages, a U.S. appeals court said in an order on Monday.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said in a ruling that Gerald Dean Morgan could seek back pay and other damages against his former supervisor, the chief disciplinary counsel of the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee.

The three-judge appeals court panel rejected chief disciplinary counsel Sandra Garrett’s claim that she had “absolute” immunity under a shield protecting judicial employees. The panel upheld claims against the board, and reinstated Morgan’s damages bid against Garrett.

“Extending judicial immunity in this case would extend its reach to areas previously denied — namely administrative acts like hiring and firing employees,” Circuit Judge John Bush wrote for the unanimous panel, including Senior Judge Alice Batchelder and Circuit Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis.

Garrett terminated Morgan in 2020 over tweets in 2015 and 2016, before he was a lawyer for the board, that were critical of the Democratic Party and Joe Biden. In one tweet, he asked: “Where’s the evidence that ‘Islam is a religion of peace’”? A lawyer who was under investigation by the board complained about ...s.

An attorney for Morgan, W. Gary Blackburn, said in an email on Monday that Morgan can now “proceed now with his claim for denial of his First Amendment right to speak on matters of public concern.” Morgan, who had worked for the Tennessee board since 2019, was not immediately reached for comment on Tuesday.

Blackburn, in a filing to the 6th Circuit in May, said that “nothing in the tweets was vulgar, inappropriate, or even embarrassing. Instead, they simply expressed a conservative political viewpoint shared by millions of Americans.”

Garrett and a lawyer for the Tennessee attorney general’s office, David Rudolph, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment….



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