PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- A lawsuit seeking to have a 36-foot mural depicting Maine's labor history returned to a state office lobby will be at stake when a federal judge hears arguments on whether the suit should be dismissed.
Gov. Paul LePage ordered the mural removed from Labor Department offices last March -- causing a public uproar and a distraction for his new administration.
A lawsuit contends that LePage and other officials violated the U.S. Constitution and the contract with the mural artist by removing it.
The Maine attorney general's office contends that the removal amounted to so-called "government speech."
U.S. District Court Judge John Woodcock is hearing arguments Thursday in federal court in Bangor on the state's motion to dismiss. The plaintiffs want a jury to decide the case.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)