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A portion of the Maine labor mural that was removed by Maine’s governor. It was created by artist Judy Taylor. (via

Last friday, a federal judge denied a request to order Maine to return a mural to a state Labor Department office where it was removed last month. According to the ruling, the Maine governor’s order to remove the 36-foot-long mural in late March constituted government speech, or the right of government to say what it wishes regardless of the viewpoint expressed.

There are still some questions about the ruling.

Related, Maine Gov. Paul LePage recently faced a point blank question about his decision at an event in the state’s Sagadahoc County:

Alison Harris said to LePage, “Governor, you spoke very elegantly about Maine’s willing workers and I liked your comment about (needing) someone to sign the front of the paycheck to have somebody sign the back of the paycheck. I just have to say I’m dismayed about your decision about the mural at the Department of Labor.” She asked how “dishonoring the workers” of Maine creates jobs in the state?

LePage responded, “The mural, putting up the mural, or taking down the mural, never created a job and that’s my position.” Pointing out again that he’s worked since age 11 in every job imaginable and has no intent of disgracing the worker and no problem with hard work, LePage said, “I just have a major, major issue with deception.”

I’m not sure what deception Gov. LePage is referring to, but perhaps he’s referencing his own deception of using an anonymous fax signed “A Secret Admirer” that compares the mural to North Korean propaganda as cover for promoting his own anti-labor agenda? Nah, probably not.

Hat tip Art Law Blog

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

One reply on “Court Rules Maine Labor Mural’s Removal Is Legal”

  1. “The mural, putting up the mural, or taking down the mural, never created a job and that’s my position”
    Hmm, the artist who was hired to paint the mural might disagree.

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