CRS Responds to ACLU on Morris Davis Firing

In response to a letter from the American Civil Liberties Union earlier this month, the Library of Congress stated on December 14 that it will not reinstate Col. Morris Davis to his job at the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Davis, the former chief prosecutor for the Guantánamo military commissions, was terminated from his job at CRS because of opinion pieces he wrote about the Guantánamo military commissions system that ran in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post on November 11, 2009. The ACLU’s letter argued that CRS violated the First Amendment when it fired Davis for speaking as a private citizen about matters having nothing to do with his job there, and that CRS must reinstate Davis to his position in order to avoid litigation. The ACLU now plans to file a lawsuit on Col. Davis’s behalf.

The CRS in its response says, “We maintain that the removal of Mr. Davis is justified.” It enumerates the reason for Morris Davis’ firing:

The November 20,2009, notice of separation sets forth Daniel Mulhollan’s chief reason for the determination to separate Mr. Davis: “[he has] not adequately demonstrated the Senior Level Executive qualities and characteristics necessary to serve effectively as Assistant Director in the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Division of the Congressional Research Service.” Furthermore, Mr. Mulhollan explains that Mr. Davis “failed to adhere to the CRS policy on Outside Speaking and Writing”, “impairing [his] ability to lead the analysts and managers in the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Division] (and throughout the Service)”, and that he had been previously verbally counseled on his failure to adhere to another CRS policy on Report Authorship and inappropriate interaction with a CRS senior manager. Mr. Mulhollan concluded that Mr. Davis “showed poor judgment and discretion . . . not consistent with ‘acceptable service'”.

Well – there you go. Let’s keep our eye on this, shall we?

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