Supreme Court Rejects Ward Churchill Appeal Without Comment
By Carol Berry
The petition to the Supreme Court asked whether a “bad faith investigation” of a professor’s work undertaken “with the stated purpose of finding grounds for termination” violates the constitution and whether “absolute, quasi-judicial immunity” should prevail even when a jury determines protected officials fired a tenured professor in retaliation for constitutionally protected free speech and would not otherwise have fired him.
The justices’ decision not to hear Churchill’s petition allows to stand rulings by the Colorado Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court that Churchill’s termination and CU’s refusal to reinstate him do not stem from actions inconsistent with civil rights law. The high court’s determination upholds “quasi-judicial immunity” for the CU Regents who fired Churchill and lets stand the contention that CU’s detailed investigation of his scholarship, which led to his dismissal for “research misconduct,” was not inherently an adverse employment action.
For more on Ward Churchill, see Churchill Loses in Colorado Supreme Court and Peltier Calls Churchill a "Phony."