Today the Supreme Court handed down a ruling in Garcetti v. Ceballos. In the 5-4 decision the court decided that the first amendment and whistle blower protections do not protect someone acting in their official capacity. More in the New York Times
The gist of it is Mr. Ceballos complained to his boss that ethically questionable practices were being used to obtain search warrants. Mr. Ceballos was subsequently passed over for promotion. The central issue, according to Mr. Justice Kennedy (via the NYT article):
The controlling factor in this case, Justice Kennedy wrote, was that Mr. Ceballos was acting purely in an official capacity when he complained internally about the search warrant. “Ceballos wrote his disposition memo because that is part of what he was employed to do,” Justice Kennedy wrote. “He did not act as a citizen by writing it.”
Anyway, interesting article and interesting issue. Among other questions this raises, does this mean the a government employe that complains about ethical issues to his boss has less protection than if he aired his grievances live on 60 Minutes? Which, any constitutional issues aside, is a poor management position to take. I would think one would want to encourage employees to come to them first before they light the whole bridge on fire so to speak. However, that does not mean that the Constitution mandates good management practices.
So, just out of curiosity, I was wondering what the peanut gallery thought of this ruling…