Posts Tagged ‘Amanda Tatro’

Contempt case moves forward for Attorney General Holder; Kentucky whistleblower gets victory

Update on Attorney General Eric Holder contempt:

The House Committee of Government Oversight and Reform voted 27 to 17  Wednesday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for failure to disclose documents related to the ‘Fast and Furious’ investigation.

Potential order of events:

  • If Holder does not produce the desired documents, the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform will proceed with a full-chamber vote next week.
  • The entire House would need to vote in favor of contempt
  • The matter falls in the lap of  the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, who would need to determine whether to criminally indict Holder.

Look on this blog for additional updates on the case in the coming days and weeks.

Whistleblowing success:

A whistleblowing miner in Kentucky can have his job back , and is set to receive $30,000 in compensation.

Cumberland River Coal Company wrongfully discharged Charles Scott Howard in May 2011, said Administrative Law Judge Margaret A. Miller.  Judge Miller claimed Cumberland had been looking for ways to get rid of Howard after he told company officials about safety issues present in the mine in which he worked.

Howard was injured at his job in June 2010, and doctors cleared him to to return to work. However, one doctor who worked for the company disagreed with others, and Cumberland pulled the plug on Howard’s employment in May 2011. Judge Miller decided the company had ulterior motives and said Cumberland was  eager to get Howard — who has a history of whistleblowing — off the job.

“I find that the mine sought out and received the opinion they were seeking and immediately upon receipt of that single opinion, terminated Howard’s employment,” Miller wrote, according to CBS News.

This will mark Howard’s third court-enforced reinstatement to work.  The judge also ordered the company to pay a $30,000 fine for dismissing Howard.

Free Speech News Roundup:

  • Robots are taking over the world! Or at least some might suggest that will be our fate if government chose to recognize the free-speech rights of sites like Google, Amazon and Facebook.  Read an opinion on why this may be one step too far, and an opinion on why government legislation in this matter makes no difference.
  • A university can limit a student’s off-campus expression if it is not in concert with the professional standards of a student’s program, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled.  The case involved Amanda Tatro’s 2009 Facebook comments, in which she alluded to stabbing “a certain someone in the throat” and talked about getting to play with the cadaver on which she was working.   After learning of Tatro’s post,  the school put her on academic probation and gave her an ‘F’ in the related anatomy-laboratory class. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that Tatro’s enrollment in a professional program made her subject to university regulation in her Facebook posts. Tatro was studying mortuary science at University of Minnesota.
  • Vietnam officials are attempting to restrict online speech by pushing a decree requiring people to use real names and information online. The decree also sets forth a requirement for Internet providers to use Vietnamese-based servers and locate their offices in the country, according to Article 19. If passed, these decrees would give the Vietnamese government an uncomfortable amount of power over online free speech, suppressing the voices of those who could be holding them accountable.

Whitney is the summer Pulliam/Killgore intern with SPJ. She recently graduated from Brigham Young University after studying journalism. Connect with her via email – –  or on twitter – @whitevs7

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