The constitutional rights of lawyers are restricted a bit, because practicing law is a privilege, not a right, and that privilege may be burdened with a loss of what otherwise would be a constitutional right, but only to the extent necessary to serve what is considered a more important legitimate purpose. For example, a prosecutor's free speech right can be restricted to protect a defendant's right to a fair trial.
It's a privilege to be a police officer, so the constitutional rights of police officers may be restricted in order to serve a more important legitimate purpose.
But is it legitimate for a sanctuary city to try to restrict a police officer's right to report an undocumented alien to the federal government?
I submit that the answer is no, especially if the police officer makes such a report on his or her own time.
The First Amendment prohibits Congress from making a law that abridges "the right of the people...to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Police officers are people too.
A person who feels aggrieved by the unauthorized presence of another person in the country is entitled to petition the federal government to do something about it.
If that aggrieved person happens to be a police officer in a sanctuary city, should his or her right to report an undocumented alien to the federal government be abridged?
No, because there is no legitimate purpose, much less a more important legitimate purpose, that would justify such a restriction on the fundamental First Amendment right to petition for redress of a grievance.
The protections against governmental abuse of persons by the federal government set forth in the Bill of Rights were made applicable to state government abuse by the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Fourteenth Amendment states in part: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States....nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
An undocumented alien may complain to the federal government about a police officer.
It's ridiculous for a state or a city to try to stop a police officer from complaining about an undocumented alien to the federal government.
It also is a denial of "the equal protection of the laws."
Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.
Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.
The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.
Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.