Judge sides with Maine governor on labor mural

By DAVID SHARP | March 23, 2012 | 2:15 PM EDT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A federal judge says Maine Gov. Paul LePage was within his rights to remove a labor mural from a state office building, a decision that caused a public uproar.

U.S. District Judge John Woodcock on Friday dismissed a lawsuit aimed at restoring the labor mural to its original location in the lobby of the Department of Labor building.

The lawsuit contended the Republican governor violated the U.S. Constitution as well as the contract with the artist.

LePage contended he was entitled to engage in "government speech," a doctrine that says the government can express itself. The judge agreed, writing that regardless of the governor's intended message, the plaintiffs don't have a right to the labor mural's continued presence.

A spokeswoman for LePage applauded the ruling.