August 23, 2007
Lawsuit filed by ex-SOS lawyer

Remember the case of Elizabeth Reyes, the attorney with the Secretary of State's office who was fired after she was quoted in a Washington Post story about the possibility that Karl Rove had committed a civil offense by improperly registering to vote in Texas? Well, she's filed a lawsuit over her termination.

Elizabeth Reyes was dismissed in September 2005 after Mr. Rove called Secretary of State Roger Williams about her quotes in a newspaper story.

In the suit filed in state district court, Ms. Reyes says she was fired "because of the political embarrassment and pressure" after she answered a reporter's questions about Mr. Rove's voting eligibility in Texas.

Mr. Williams, who resigned in June to head the state Republican Party's 2008 campaign effort, said Monday that he had not seen the lawsuit.

"I don't know what it says. So I can't say anything about it," he said.

Mr. Williams has previously said that Ms. Reyes was terminated because she violated agency policy. He said she was not authorized to discuss controversial issues with the media.

In Texas, state employees can be fired at will. Her attorney claims the firing violated her constitutional right of free speech.


The lawsuit seeks lost wages and unspecified punitive damages. In addition, Ms. Reyes asks that references to her termination be eliminated from her state employment file.

Okay, we all know I'm not a lawyer. And I'd certainly enjoy seeing Rove and Williams get skewered by this. But honestly, I can't see how Ms. Reyes wins this suit. I'm not even sure how she survives a motion to dismiss. Maybe she can produce an email from Rove to Williams saying something like "do me a favor and can her sorry @$$", I don't know. Seems to me all the defense has to do is say she violated department policy by speaking to a reporter instead of deferring to the press officer, and that'll be that. I feel bad for her - I think firing was an overreaction to what she did - but I don't see how she wins.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 23, 2007 to Show Business for Ugly People