Sarah F. Suma


Resolving a circuit split, the Supreme Court declared in Garcetti v. Ceballos that the First Amendment does not protect speech made pursuant to a public employee's work duties, regardless of whether the speech relates to a matter of public concern or the government's restrictions are justifiable. This article argues that a bright line rule eliminating First Amendment protection for job-duty speech is inconsistent with the theories underlying free speech protection. Further, this article explores practical drawbacks to Garcetti's bright-line rule, including inconsistent judicial determination of the scope of job duties, a disincentive to report government abuse through one's chain-of-command, and a lack of protection for those who are best informed about the subject of their speech and who are under professional or legal obligations to speak.

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