Today, I'll be dining on "America's Meat and Potatoes" (AKA - a Slim-Jim and a can of Pringles).
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It is important that some distinction be made between private citizen and public employee.
I find the most disturbing part of the opinion is the distinction drawn between “citizens” and “government employees,” as if those groups and interests are not one and the same. Dont you think those interests should generaly line up?What if we had several uniformed Sheriff Deputies cruising around the community and stating that the current Sheriff (and incumbent candidate) is no good, and encouraging people to vote him out of office. This is much different than when the same deputies show up at a town hall meeting (in their street clothes) and express an opinion (however informed) about a need for change in the leadership of the Sheriff’s administration. In the first scenario, the deputies are clearly acting against the best interest of their employer (the current sheriff), and should probably be disciplined for creating and/or perpetuating a negative image of their organization. In the second, these deputies are merely expressing their (informed) opinions about the situation and should not be punished for speaking their minds and exercising their constitutional rights to free speech.
I think you have a great example here of the sort of hypothetical that was probably driving the decision. Though in that scenario the deputies would have been engaging in behaviours outside of their duties (they shouldnt be out campaigning while on the clock).
This seems like one of those situations where we could have used a brilliant jurist who cuts a distinction that allows for some administrative discretion but makes a bold statement that government wrongdoing belongs squarely in the public eye. They chose not to do this which is regretable.
Then again, maybe I'm just an idiot
Hardly! I just think this is an interesting discussion. I hope I'm not being too argumentative. I think you and aerynn are making very good points from the other side.
Right so doesnt that seem a little strange? What do you think the motivation is in protecting the right of the outside citizen to make the allegations and not the employee? Why do you think they are so loathe to extend the constitutional protection?