Herbert v. PDC

In Herbert v. PDC (2006) 136 Wn. App. 249, 267 148 P.3d 1102, a case arising out of the state of Washington, the appellate court considered "a hypothetical example of a union newsletter that contained nonpolitical messages, but could not be delivered by a school employee to teacher mailboxes because it also contained political messages." The court observed: "The goal of the statute is to prohibit public employees from using public resources to distribute political messages; the speech itself could be distributed by another means (such as the United States Postal Service). Thus, the speech itself is not chilled by the statute, but only the use of the public facilities by public employees to deliver that speech. The statute as applied carefully delineates speech that uses public facilities and all other types of speech." (Id., 148 P.3d at p. 1112.) The court further stated: "While it is true that appellant's hypothetical union newsletter containing both political and nonpolitical messages could not be delivered by a school employee through the internal mailbox system, nothing prohibits the union from separating the messages. A union newsletter containing nonpolitical messages could still be distributed through internal mail, while political messages could be distributed via, for example, United States mail or in a staff room during nonwork hours." (Herbert v. PDC, supra, 148 P.3d at p. 1112.)