Constitutional Law Sees Koran Burning Worker Reinstated With $25000 Compo
We all see the old maxim “I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Supposedly a quote from Voltaire, (but his words were more accurately transcribed as “Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too.” )
Whatever, its an attractive ideal and easy to subscribe to. Many who have used that phrase before had to struggle past it to condemn the spate of Koran burning in the West. I’ve got a post on the intricacies of this event coming up later. For now though, this is interesting news. The Daily Mail reports-
The transit worker fired for burning pages of the Koran on the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks is getting his job back, being given $25,000 and receiving back pay for every day he was out of work. Derek Fenton, 40, from New Jersey, hit headlines last year when he ripped up the pages from the Muslim holy book and set them alight outside the site of the planned mosque near Ground Zero. He was taken away by police but released without charge and a few days later he was sacked by NJ Transit.
But a settlement obtained by The Star-Ledger Newark shows that Mr Fenton has been given his $86,000-a-year job back, will receive $25,000 for ‘pain and suffering caused’ and receive back pay equal to the amount of $331.20 for every day since he was fired on September 13 last year. The state will also pay $25,000 in legal fees to the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a lawsuit claiming Fenton’s right to free expression was violated.
He said in a statement: ‘Our government cannot pick and choose whose free speech rights are protected, based on whether or not they approve of the context of our statements or actions.
‘This is the very essence of the First Amendment.’
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