Federal appeals judges Tuesday rejected a lawsuit by “Joe the Plumber” that claimed his rights were violated by a state records search after he voiced public concern over taxes to then-candidate Barack Obama.
The three-judge 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld a lower court’s dismissal of the lawsuit. Samuel J. Wurzelbacher of the Toledo area became nationally known during the 2008 presidential campaign after the much-quoted discussion about taxes with Obama.
Read more on Politico. The judges reportedly did not think Wurzelbacher had demonstrated that he suffered sufficient harm.
So government employees can invade privacy by running unauthorized records searches and if the target can’t show that they were harmed, there’s no compensable foul? That doesn’t seem right. And if the judges are correct in their application of the law, then we need a stronger law that provides for statutory damages.