What are the limitations on our privacy rights? That’s one of questions raised in the case of Sam Wurzelbacher.
Love him or hate him, Samuel J. Wurzelbacher is back in the news. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, maybe you know him better as “Joe the Plumber.”
This time Wurzelbacher is getting attention for bringing a lawsuit against three former Ohio state government officials who violated his privacy by snooping into his records after John McCain launched him into the national spotlight.
Wurzelbacher is seeking unspecified damages from Helen Jones-Kelly, former director of Job and Family Services, and Fred Williams and Doug Thompson. Williams and Thompson helped in the search of state records.
In the complaint, Wurzelbacher alleges his constitutional rights were violated, and that he’s been unable to find a job as a plumber because of his notoriety.
“No American should be investigated for simply asking a question of a public official,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, the conservative legal group who filed the lawsuit for Sam/Joe.
I think most of us would agree with Fitton, and, because all three of the former state officials named in Wurzelbacher’s lawsuit have either resigned or been fired, I’d say it’s a safe bet that Ohio governor Ted Strickland agrees on this point, too.
You go, Joe! Stand up for your privacy rights and ours!
Uhm, but Joe, about that you can’t get a job thing?
Your notoriety didn’t begin when Jones-Kelly et al searched your records; it began when Sen. John McCain made you a centerpiece in a presidential debate.
And then you made the most of that notoriety by traveling with the McCain campaign and making public appearances. Publishing a book immediately after the campaign might lead some to think you relish the notoriety.
Maybe the reason you’re having a hard time getting a job is because you’re an unlicensed plumber in one of the states hardest hit by the recession.