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Plaintiff wins on principle, loses her claim

A Buchanan County woman passed over for a social services job has lost her suit against local officials, even though a federal appeals court holds it is unlawful to discriminate in hiring for that job on the basis of politics.

A panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a published opinion released Friday, declared it unconstitutional to hire a county social services director on the basis of political affiliation.  Nevertheless, because the law on that point was not well-established, the county board that decided not to hire Republican Tammy Fields is immune from suit, the panel held.

Fields had complained the Democratic-controlled social services board in Buchanan County passed her by for the job because she was a Republican.

By Peter Vieth

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