CIR files challenge to California Gag Rule

The Center for Individual Rights and the California Policy Center have filed suit challenging a California law that prohibits public officials from making statements that might “deter or discourage” public employees or applicants from membership in a public employee union.

Section 3550 unconstitutionally censors viewpoints that are critical of public employee unions on the basis of a vague and inherently shifting standard that makes it impossible to know ahead of time what speech is prohibited.  As a result, the statute routinely chills a broad array of clearly protected speech.  Even objectively accurate, factual statements about union policies can trigger a complaint.

The suit was filed in United States District Court for the Central District of California.  It asks the court to enjoin enforcement of the law on grounds that it violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.