Plaintiff, a member of the council of the city of Highland Park, Michigan, was removed by the council, as provided in the charter because of membership in the Black Legion. The Black Legion was a secret society founded on principles of racial, religious, and political discrimination. Its members took an oath to further these purposes by any means ordered by the officers of the organization, including violence and terrorism. Members were forbidden to expose the organization under penalty of death, and membership was supposedly permanent. The council found that membership in such a society rendered Wilson incompetent to perform the duties of his office, and that it constituted corrupt and wilful malfeasance in office, and wilful misconduct to the injury of the public service. The action of the council was affirmed by the circuit court. On appeal, it was held that the removal proceeding should be quashed. The majority of the court found that there was no official misconduct. The dissent took the view that by becoming a member of the Black Legion, plaintiff circumscribed his liberty of action in such a way that he would be unable to act in the interest of the public at large. Wilson v. Council of Highland Park, 284 Mich. 96, 278 N. W. 778 (1938).
Leonard D. Verdier Jr.,
MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS - OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT AS GROUND FOR REMOVAL OF OFFICER,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol37/iss2/16