David Wilson was elected to the board of trustees of the Houston Community College District (HCC) in 2013. After a few years, Wilson found that the other eight members of the board were assholes of the highest order. Specifically, he argued they were taking bribes and shit like that.
Wilson decided to shout that shit from the mountaintops, but that landed his ass in some hot water. You see, a board is composed of nine members who vote. If one member, calls the other eight corrupt mother fuckers, and they take it to a vote, eight people are going to tell Wilson to shut the fuck up. And so they did.
Their feelings were so hurt by Wilson’s accusations, they publicly censured him, and took away his travel privileges.. They even called him “reprehensible.” The nerve of those vindictive little scumbags.
As is usual, this is a court dispute. Wilson was so pissed off by this censure bullshit, he sued in a state court, that his 1st amendment rights had been violated. But the court sided with HCC. Their argument was that a censure is just them calling him a whiny little bitch, but all publicly and shit. It doesn’t violate his first amendment rights. He can still do his job, and say whatever the fuck he wants. They weren’t hurting him at all, and thus he has no reason to be suing them. Seems they were awfully quiet about the $20,000 fine they laid on him, which I think we all agree, could be called “damages.”
But then the 5th circuit was like, “Whoa, hold on a minute you little state court punks. This dude does have cause to sue. So fuck your little piece of shit ruling—you’re a bunch of idiots. Who the fuck even gave you a gavel? They punished the man in a public manner and official capacity, for calling those corrupt fucks out. That qualifies as “cause” in our opinion.”
HCC was like, “Hey, wait a fucking minute. By trying to block the censure, you’re denying us our first amendment rights to call this asshole an asshole.”
So now, we have two people who have diametrically opposed first amendment rights, trying to get SCOTUS to determine who gets to say what and when.
In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS sided with the HCC. Not that they were promoting their corrupt bullshit, but just the censure itself isn’t a violation of Wilson’s free speech. While Wilson can’t be thrown in jail for saying what he said, the courts can censure him if they wanted to.