U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Retaliation — Government Employee Seeking Public Office
Castine v. Zurlo
Judges Jacobs, Leval and Pooler
Background: The plaintiff appealed from a judgment dismissing her complaint against Clinton County and the county administrator. The plaintiff alleged that her First Amendment rights were violated when she was removed from her office as election commissioner while she ran for an elective town office pursuant to an ordinance that disqualified candidates for elective office from employment in the Board of Elections.
Ruling: The Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s First Amendment claims, but remanded the plaintiff’s state law claims. The plaintiff played a governing role in the body charged with the responsibility to supervise the conduct of elections. As a candidate for town justice, she would participate in an election supervised by the Board of Elections. As the plaintiff was seeking to void the local ordinance under state law, the statute was not being enforced at the time the district court rendered judgment.
Thomas Marcelle for the plaintiff-appellant; John F. Moore of Towne, Ryan & Partners for the defendant-appellees