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Andrew Shirvell to receive unemployment benefits after court ruling


A judge in Lansing says Andrew Shirvell is entitled to unemployment benefits after being fired as an assistant state attorney general.

Shirvell was discharged for misconduct, but the judge says he was simply exercising his free speech rights in a crusade against a gay student leader.

Andrew Shirvell drew widespread attention for his campaign to discredit the University of Michigan’s first openly gay student body president.

Shirvell wrote a blog, showed up to protest at events that were attended by Chris Armstrong, and staked out his house with a video camera.

Then-Attorney General Mike Cox at first defended Shirvell’s right to voice his opinion on his own time. But eventually Shirvell lost his state job.

His claim for unemployment benefits was denied because Shirvell was fired for misconduct.

Judge Paula Manderfield disagreed. In an order dated October 17th, Manderfield said Shirvell was fired for constitutionally protected speech, and ordered the state to pay him unemployment benefits.

Her decision could be challenged before the state Court of Appeals.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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