The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska on April 24 filed a suit against the City of Homer. The suit targets the proposed recall of three Homer City Council Members.
The recall stems from a pair of resolutions either introduced or supported by the council members. Some locals felt they were handled improperly.
Recall petitions were issued earlier this year for Donna Aderhold, Catriona Reynolds, and David Lewis after certification by the city clerk.
“We don’t get involved in cases to help individual clients. We only take cases when it could affect large groups of people," said Casey Reynolds, communications director for the ACLU of Alaska. “And we saw potential harm to both voters and elected officials around the state from a precedent being set that if an elected official takes a position on some public policy issue or does their job by crafting legislation, that that in and of itself alone would be grounds for recall."
It alleges the city is violating the first amendment rights of the council members. The ACLU said it believes the recall petition should never have been certified by the city clerk.
“We see both the effort and that certification as unconstitutional because it violates the elected city council members’ rights to free speech which has been held in multiple courts that you can’t use as grounds for recall protected speech by elected officials," he said.
The suit cites a handful of other cases that also deal with public officials speaking on issues in their respective communities.
Reynolds noted the suit was filed now in the hopes that the election can be cancelled.
“And from here, we expect it to be heard fairly shortly," he said. "We filed for an expedited hearing and for the courts to stop the election from going forward. But, we would expect a court hearing and a judgment within the next 30 days with regard to whether the election can go forward.”
The election is currently scheduled for June 13.