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Justices Revive Demoted Cop’s First Amendment Claim

April 28, 2016, 4:00 AM

A Paterson, N.J., police officer demoted because of his perceived support for the mayor’s rival in an election may pursue a First Amendment retaliation claim, a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled (Heffernan v. City of Paterson, 2016 BL 131602, U.S., 14-1280, 4/26/16).

In a 6-2 decision, the court April 26 reversed a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruling that Jeffrey Heffernan lacked a constitutional claim because he hadn’t actually engaged in any political speech or association.

Heffernan’s supervisors’ mistaken belief he was supporting the incumbent mayor’s rival and his demotion on that basis are sufficient ...