Gov. Paul LePage's decision to remove a mural from the Maine Department of Labor building did not violate free speech, a federal judge ruled Friday.
Justice John Woodcock Jr. denied a request for a temporary restraining order that would have required the LePage administration to return the mural to the DOL building, saying the removal of the state-owned mural is an example of government speech and "is a constitutionally permissible exercise of gubernatorial authority." In his order, Woodcock said the removal did not represent state censorship, and that debate of the decision "must rest instead with the ultimate authority of the people of the state of Maine to choose their leaders."
Lawyer Jeffrey Young, one of the six plaintiffs in the case, said he and others are considering other legal avenues to reinstate the mural, according to a press release from his law firm, McTeague Higbee.
LePage ordered the mural -- which depicts events in Maine's labor history -- removed last month, saying it was one-sided, which set off a firestorm of opposition.