(Pictured above: handwritten notes from one Williamson County Commissioner jotted down during Constable interviews)
The Texas Civil Rights Project files a suit today against the Williamson County Commissioners. The suit alleges that the commissioners asked illegal questions when conducting interviews for a new County Constable. The lawsuit is filed on behalf of one of the applicants, Robert Lloyd.
He says “You figure your questions will all be related to the job. The question asked of me was about my opinion on gay marriage. I gave the best answer I felt that I could. Commission Birkman said to me, ‘Robert if you’re appointed, you’d better come up with a better answer than that”
Lloyd says they also asked questions about his views on abortion, his religious affiliation, and his voting record. Lloyd is a decorated law enforcement veteran with more than 25 years experience, including in the same precinct they were hiring for. They ended up picking a guy who is the brother-in-law of the attorney for the commissioner’s court.
Read the full press release from the TCRP below:
The Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) filed a lawsuit against all five members of the Williamson County Commissioners Court today on behalf of Robert Lloyd, a qualified applicant for the recently open position of Williamson County Constable for Precinct 3. The suit alleges the commissioners violated Mr. Lloyd’s constitutional rights by asking him questions about his views on abortion, gay marriage, religion, and the political party for which he voted.
“I don’t understand what those questions have to do with being a constable,” said Mr. Lloyd. “I’ve worked in law enforcement for over 25 years, and those issues never had anything to do with doing a good job. It just doesn’t seem right that the commissioners asked my views on these issues, let alone used them against me or any other applicant for the constable job.”
Mr. Lloyd is a highly decorated veteran law enforcement officer of 26 years. He has honorably served all of those years at police departments in Williamson and Burnet counties. As a direct result of illegal inquiries, the commissioners did not employ Mr. Lloyd as constable even though he was the most qualified person for the job, according to the suit.
“These questions violate Mr. Lloyd’s 1st and 14th Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution, along with his privacy rights,” said TCRP’s James C. Harrington. “There’s no place for these questions in this day and age in an interview for the position of constable. We are also asking the Williamson County District Attorney to file criminal charges against the commissioners for abuse of official capacity and official oppression.”
According to the suit, the commissioners asked the applicants whether they were Democrats or Republicans, and Lisa Birkman pulled up Mr. Lloyd’s voting record on her cell phone during the interview. The suit seeks a federal court order to put a stop to the commissioners’ practice of asking illegal questions.