(CN) – A county clerk in Kentucky did not violate her deputy’s constitutional rights by firing her when she decided to challenge the clerk in an election, the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled.
Russell County Clerk Lisha Popplewell fired Stacie Cook from her deputy clerk position. Cook sued for violations of her First and 14th Amendment rights.
Popplewell said she fired Cook for poor work performance, not retaliation.
The trial court ruled that no violation took place and that Popplewell was protected by sovereign immunity. Judge Buckingham upheld the decision, citing the 6th Circuit decision in Carver v. Dennis.
According to that decision, the U.S. Supreme Court “has never recognized a fundamental right to express one’s political views through candidacy.”
Cook admitted that if the Kentucky courts used the Carver case as binding precedent, she would lose.
“Various federal courts have questioned the wisdom of Carver,” Buckingham wrote. “Nevertheless, it continues to be the law in the 6th Circuit.
“While we are not bound by Carver,” the judge added, “we are persuaded that its holding should be followed in this case.”