Decision Halts Enforcement of Most Rules Prohibiting a Broad Range of Political Speech and Activities


WASHINGTON – Today a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction barring the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC) from enforcing new rules that prohibits AOUSC employees from engaging in a broad range of political speech and activities. The ACLU of the District of Columbia challenged nine restrictions in a lawsuit filed in May.

The AOUSC employs nearly 1,000 employees who provide administrative support services to the federal courts, but unlike judges, do n­­ot participate in deciding cases.

The rules, implemented in March, bar these employees from a wide range of political activity, including posting about political candidates on social media; attending events for partisan candidates; displaying political lawn signs at home or wearing political badges or buttons off-duty; attending party conventions or meetings; being a member of a partisan political organization; or contributing money to a political party or candidate.

“Today’s decision vindicates public employees’ First Amendment rights to participate in the most important aspects of the political process,” said Scott Michelman, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU of the District of Columbia. “The court rightly recognized that the government cannot use the specter of potential corruption to prohibit core First Amendment activities.”

Today’s decision by U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper prohibits the AOUSC from enforcing the seven restrictions listed above, and applies to nearly 1,000 AOUSC employees.

The case, Guffey v. Duff, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Today’s decision can be found here: