Employment – no right of candidacy for political office, termination of clerk affirmed: Cook v. Popplewell (COA 5/15/2009)

Cook v. Popplewell
2009 WL 1349145

Opinion by Senior Judge Buckingham; Judge Taylor concurred; Judge Stumbo concurred by separate opinion.

The Court affirmed a summary judgment of the circuit court granted to the appellee county clerk and county on appellant’s claims she had been discharged from her employment as a deputy county clerk for seeking to run against the county clerk in an upcoming election in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

The Court held that although the opinion in Carver v. Dennis, 104 F.3d 847 (6th Cir. 1997), was not binding on the Court, based on Kentucky Supreme Court precedent, the circuit court properly granted summary judgment on appellant’s First Amendment claim because there was no right to candidacy under the First Amendment.

The Court further held that the circuit court did not err in determining that appellant’s right to run for public office was not a constitutionally protected liberty interest under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process clause.

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