Newton v. LePage, No. 12-1472 (1st Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
At issue in this case was whether the governor of Maine violated the First Amendment by removing a large state-owned mural, commissioned by the former administration, from its location on the walls of a small waiting room for visitors to the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL). The mural consisted of panels depicting selected episodes in the history of Maine labor. Plaintiffs, six Maine residents who had viewed the mural and planned to view it again at the MDOL office, filed a complaint against the governor and the commissioner of MDOL claiming that the mural's removal was impermissibly content- and viewpoint-based. The U.S. district court entered judgment for Defendants. After noting that the MDOL waiting room was not a public forum, the First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the government may, in this setting, choose to disassociate itself from an endorsement implicit from the setting for the mural, which it understood as interfering with the message of neutrality the administration wished to portray.