Governor Free to Remove Labor Movement Mural

By Lucile Scott, Courthouse News Services

Maine Gov. Paul LePage did not violate the First Amendment when he removed a mural depicting the history of the labor movement in the state from the walls of the Department of Labor, the 1st Circuit held.

The suit was brought by five Maine residents who, according to the opinion, claim that they “had viewed the mural and planned to view it again at the MDOL offices,” and that the mural’s removal “was impermissibly content- and viewpoint- based.”

They contended that because LePage removed the mural without conducting a hearing in March, 2011, shortly after taking office, he violated their First Amendment rights.

The mural by Judy Taylor was installed in a small public waiting room in the Department of Labor in August 2008. According to the opinion, the 7-foot tall mural’s panels included depictions of labor strikes, child laborers and female workers during World War II.

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