Oregon Capital Bureau
SALEM — A federal judge compared state Sen. Brian Boquist to the actor Clint Eastwood and a playground bully Jan. 7 in dismissing the Dallas Republican’s claims that Senate President Peter Courtney and others attempted to silence him and otherwise abused their power.
Boquist, representing himself, sued in July after last year’s contentious legislative session. He acted after the bipartisan Senate Special Committee on Conduct unanimously decided that the senator would have to give 12-hour notice to Oregon State Police before entering the Capitol building over comments he made that were perceived to be threatening.
During the legislative session, Boquist was one of 11 Republican state senators who walked out of the Senate to deny majority Democrats a quorum needed to pass a controversial carbon bill. Gov. Kate Brown said she would use her constitutional authority to send state police to bring the Republicans back.
In response, Boquist addressed Courtney during a Senate session: “If you send the state police to get me, hell’s coming to visit you personally.”
Later that day, he told a KGW reporter that if police come to get him they’d better “send bachelors and come heavily armed. I’m not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It’s just that simple.”
Boquist’s comments drew national attention and a private attorney hired by legislative leaders recommended he not be allowed back in the Capitol because he was perceived by employees as a threat.
Boquist claimed in his federal complaint that his First Amendment rights were violated and that his remarks regarding “hell” were religious.
However, U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane found otherwise.
“These statements, apart and together, resonate more as threats than the expression of theological ideas,” McShane wrote in his Jan. 7 order.
Boquist said that he was reviewing the judge’s order and was considering submitting his claims as a tort against the state.
“We will wait and see,” he said.