The United States legal system serves as a testament to cohesive and fair jurisprudence. Our legal codes are among the most voluminous of any society — from ancient Greece to modern day. The same legal system that acquits the innocent and persecutes criminals leaves a discretionary gap for civil matters. I don’t need to say that there is a need for a large canon of civil infractions that can be brought to the court. Yet, when citizens use the courts to propagate their hateful sentiments in last-ditch attempts to save face, judges must recognize and dismiss these cases immediately.
An Oct. 31 article in The Michigan Daily revealed that former Michigan assistant attorney general Andrew Shirvell filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Shirvell is suing attorney Deborah Gordon for $75,000 in damages relating to his termination last November from the Attorney General’s office. Shirvell was fired after it was shown that he lied during a disciplinary hearing about his actions relating to former Michigan Student Assembly President Chris Armstrong. Shirvell claims in his latest press release that Gordon, Armstrong’s lawyer, engaged in a “year long campaign of intimidation and defamation” against him.
Shirvell’s public crusade against Armstrong, the University’s first openly gay student body president, began after the 2010 MSA election. Shirvell started a blog, “Chris Armstrong Watch,” — which no longer exists — called for action against Armstrong’s “radical homosexual agenda.”
Some people may ask why I’ve written extensively about Andrew Shirvell throughout my time at The Michigan Daily. The answer is that I have been involved with the mysterious case of Shirvell from the start. Last fall, the Daily broke the news of Shirvell’s harassment, and I was a member of the editorial board that was one of the first groups to respond to the incident. I remember sitting in the offices of the Daily and browsing Shirvell’s blog. The first post contained a photo of Armstrong with “Resign” written over his face and a rainbow flag with a swastika in the middle of it next to him.
Later posts were even more disturbing. As The Michigan Daily reported in September 2010, Shirvell labeled Armstrong a liar, an elitist, a racist, a pervert and a “viciously militant homosexual activist.” Upon gaining press attention for his Internet attacks, Shirvell made trips to Ann Arbor to sit in on MSA meetings and protest on the Diag. In one case, Shirvell stalked Chris Armstrong at a Halloween party, which on his blog Shirvell equated to a “gay sex orgy.” Since then, Shirvell has made numerous statements to the Daily defending his actions.
After Shirvell’s review by the Michigan Attorney General’s office and former Attorney General Mike Cox, he was dismissed — for good reason. Shirvell was using Michigan tax dollars — writing many of his posts from the Attorney General’s office, while on the clock — to conduct very public defamation against a University student. The very thought of this man, whose job was to protect the civil liberties of citizens of the state of Michigan, not degrade them, is repugnant.
Aside from being bizarre, Shirvell’s actions were deemed unacceptable by his employer, Mike Cox — a right-wing politician who sought to prosecute adultery as a first-degree case of criminal sexual conduct. Cox later admitted to committing adultery against his wife in 2005. During his two terms as Michigan Attorney General, Cox joined 19 other state Attorney Generals in opposing President Barack Obama’s federal health care legislation.
In simple terms, Shirvell was dismissed from an office and administration that was wrought in controversy and duplicity. I’m fairly certain if any licensed psychologist examined Shirvell’s actions against Armstrong, they’d concur that he is suffering from delusions of grandeur. The judge assigned to hear arguments on Shirvell’s latest lawsuit must see it for what it is: A last-ditch attempt to save face. Shirvell’s license to practice law should be in question, not his absurd claims about one of our peers.
Eaghan Davis can be reached at email@example.com.