20 November 2008

Supreme Court Responds to Fired Official

"After initially declining comment" when fired Supreme Court official Pancho Morris alleged retaliation by Administrative Director Steve Canterbury, the court "responded Wednesday with a two-page statement that challenges each of Morris' allegations and calls those directed at Canterbury 'scurrilous, offensive lies,'" The Associated Press reports.

"Morris alleges he had reported racist language" by Canterbury before his Friday discharge, the article said. Morris, who is black, "also says he was targeted over the now infamous European vacation photos that contributed to the election defeat of Chief Justice Elliott 'Spike' Maynard."

Wednesday's statement said "the racist language attributed to Canterbury by Morris came from two incidents in which Canterbury was quoting someone else," and that "while Morris did allege racial discrimination to Canterbury during a discussion, he never complained or contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission," AP reported.

As for the photos, the article notes that Maynard's supporters had sought to link them to his political enemies after they became public in January, before he lost the Democratic primary in May.

The statement said that "Canterbury has never accused Mr. Morris of having anything to do with the release of those photos, nor has anyone else at the Supreme Court,'' and that "the release of those photos has never been investigated by the Administrative Office, or any other agency.''

MetroNews also reports on Wednesday's statement.

Update: Justice Larry Starcher tells AP he wants it known that he and his colleagues played no role in either decision by Canterbury's office to fire Morris or issue Wednesday's statement.

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