Supremes Muffle Government Whistleblowers
The Supremes handed down a blow to would-be government whistleblowers today. The high court in its ruling in Garcetti v. Ceballos made it more difficult for government employees to file lawsuits claiming they were the victims of retaliation for going public with allegations of misconduct, according to reports.
The Associated Press' Gina Holland writes:
"On a 5-4 vote, justices said the nation's 20 million public employees do not have carte blanche free speech rights to disclose government's inner workings. New Justice Samuel Alito cast the tie-breaking vote. "
SCOTUSblog's Marty Lederman provides some analysis:
"The looming question in the case was not so much the outcome but the Court's rationale ... Today, the Court took that very signifiant step, holding that "when public employees make statements pursuant to their official duties, the employees are not speaking as citizens for First Amendment purposes, and the Constitution does not insulate their communications from employer discipline." This apparently means that employees may be disciplined for their official capacity speech, without any First Amendment scrutiny, and without regard to whether it touches on matters of "public concern" -- a very significant doctrinal development."
Posted by Laurel Newby on May 30, 2006 at 03:59 PM | Permalink
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