We’ve detected that you’re using Internet Explorer. Please consider updating to a more modern browser to ensure the best user experience on our website.

ACLJ Obtains Victory in Federal Lawsuit Against New Hampshire Library That Fired State Representative for Her Political Views – Library Admits That It Violated the First Amendment


Jordan Sekulow

June 10

5 min read

Radical Left



Listen tothis article

A Republican state Representative was fired from her day job as a librarian because she expressed her conservative views. We filed a lawsuit and just won a huge victory in federal court. A federal district court just entered a consent order that will resolve our case, Quaratiello v. Raymond, and protect the rights of our client and allow others like her to freely express their views.

We filed this lawsuit in November on behalf of a librarian and Republican member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, Arlene Quaratiello. As in many states, being a member of the state legislature is only a part-time position, and most state Reps. hold additional jobs. Our client was a librarian at a local library.

Rep. Quaratiello sent a letter to a local newspaper, endorsing conservative candidates for a public library position. She endorsed these candidates because they took the “controversial” position that sexually explicit books should not be in the children’s section of the library. What happened next was a shocking violation of the First Amendment:

A month after she sent the letter, she was called to meet with Director Corbett, a Library trustee, and the town manager. They told her she was terminated “because of [her] lack of separation of personal/political values and agendas from DTL [Dudley-Tucker Library] policies, procedures, and occurrences” and because she was “not able to maintain the separation between personal and Library tenets.” Our client – who is an elected official – asked if this meant that she was terminated for her political activity, and they confirmed it.

Eventually, the library restored our client to her job, but not before the library’s constitutional damage was done. They might have thought that doing so would mean they would not face any consequences for their conduct. Arlene went to a number of lawyers, asking them if anything could be done about what happened to her. However, because she had gotten her job back, the other lawyers said there was no case.

That’s when she came to the ACLJ, and we were able to see that there was something else that needed to be done. Even though she technically got her job back, Arlene’s constitutional rights were still violated, and no recognition of wrongdoing had occurred. She was understandably concerned that something like this might happen again the next time she spoke out on a political issue – which obviously, as a state Representative, she would do. Our lawsuit was about protecting the rights of citizens to speak out about the issues that affect all of us and ensuring a conservative voice can still be heard.

The court’s consent decree, in our case, does exactly that. First, the library is now obligated to publicly admit what it did; the order includes a statement that Arlene was terminated “because she engaged in off duty, public, expressive, political activity, outside the scope of her employment with the Library.”

Second, the library agreed to make the following public statement admitting wrongdoing:

The Dudley-Tucker Library regrets its conduct toward Quaratiello and the violation of Plaintiff Quaratiello’s constitutional rights, and will remind, in writing, all personnel to refrain from engaging in disciplinary activity that punishes the First Amendment activities of employees. The Dudley-Tucker Library and Town of Raymond will take any other actions reasonably necessary to ensure this type of constitutional violation does not occur again.

This is especially important, as governmental entities almost never admit wrongdoing.

Third, the court entered an order that will ensure our client’s rights are protected in the future. This order does the following five things: (1) it declares that the termination of Rep. Quaratiello “for her political activity constituted a violation of her First Amendment rights”; (2) it orders the defendants to expunge any negative documents relating to this incident from their employee files; (3) it enjoins the defendants “from disciplining Plaintiff Quaratiello or other similarly situated employees for off-duty political speech and activity that does not occur using Library resources or time”; (4) it requires the library to “reiterate to all employees that Library policy cannot and does not prohibit employees from engaging in off-duty, constitutionally-protected political activity”; and (5) it requires an addition to the employee handbook acknowledging these fundamental rights.

This consent decree constitutes a major vindication for our client. She now has a court order explaining that her rights were violated and providing her explicit, extensive legal protection in case anything similar happens again. These kinds of victories cannot happen without your help.

Because of the support of our ACLJ members, we’re able to defend your First Amendment rights free of charge to our clients. Whether it is an elected representative, a realtor, a student, or anyone else, we stand ready, willing, and able to help. If you find your rights are being violated, especially if you have been illegally targeted because of your conservative views, reach out to us at ACLJ.org/HELP.

close player