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Stephen Breyer

Supreme Court strengthens free-speech rights of public employees

Supreme Court strengthens free-speech rights of public employees

Just in time for the election season, the Supreme Court has strengthened legal protections for the nation’s 22 million public employees against being demoted or fired for supporting the wrong political candidate in the eyes of their supervisors.

“The Constitution prohibits a government employee from discharging or demoting an employee because the employee supports a particular political candidate,” Justice Stephen G. Breyer said Tuesday.

This applies, he said, even if a supervisor mistakenly assumes an employee is supporting a particular candidate. What counts is “the employer’s motive,” Breyer said.

The 6-2 decision revived a...

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