Sunday, June 04, 2006

Cowards and crooks

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that public employees who speak up about possible government wrong doing, fraud and general criminal behavior via their jobs are not protected against employer retaliation by the First Amendment. In the case Ceballos v. Garcetti, they ruled that ruled that the Los Angeles County district attorney's office did not violate prosecutor Richard Ceballos's freedom of speech by demoting him after he wrote to supervisors that a sheriff's deputy had lied to get a search warrant.

Ceballos was evntually reassigned as a trial attorney and denied a promotion, which he suggested were retalliation for his writing the memo (a violation of his First Amendment rights). This suggest that since employees have obligations to make complaints on their jobs by using internal grievance procedures that are within their job description, when they do level complaints they have no First Amendment protections regarding what they may or may not say.

In essence thay are saying that it is the duty of the citizenry of America, especially thoes that work with the federal government, to support any unethical conduct by federal top-dog beuracratis against both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I find this strange given that it is the civil duty of federal employees to speak out against waste, fraud and any behavior that can be considered as criminal as American citizens first.

In the opinion, Justice Kennedy, Chief Justice Roberts, Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito, said that Ceballos is entitled to no First Amendment protection for his speech for writing a memo to his superior arguing that a case should be dropped because there were inaccuracies and "misrepresentations" in an affidavit used by a sheriff's deputy to obtain a search warrant.

So employees will not have any incentive to use the protocols of their work place for grievances (where there is no 1st admenednt protrection) but will more likely speak out in public if they want First Amendment protections. This is rather
doltish and witless seeing that if they speak either privately or publicly, they can be fired for what is essentially personal private speech. Even if they just speak publicly, they loose any chance of keeping their jobs because they did not use the employer's circumscribed guidance for complaint.

What does this mean? It means that the Court's decision basically makes it hard for folks to tell or whistle blowon any wrong doings. The truth is that the brave people who do stand up as honest American and tell, are still subject to retaliation by their supervisors . This is even if the allegations and complaints are true and point to criminal behavior. Maybe this would not have happened if
Justice O'Connor had not left the bench January 31, before the opinion was completed. Originally the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that the Ceballos case was "inherently a matter of public concern" protected by the Constitution. Alito was the deciding vote that broke the 4-4 tie. The present administration supported Garcetti citing the U.S. government is "the nation's largest public employer."

The court has in essence done what congress, via the constitution is no able to...." make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." In this decision they say that First Amendment rights do not apply to government employees who speak within the scope of their jobs. I just find it hard to belive if I found my boss selling plans to the Taliban, and I told on him, I could be fired and charged with a crime. Personally, government workers speaking out on the job have the same kind protection as any one else speaking out in public as citizens. What remains to be seen is what kind of civil servants will we have , or will it leave us with a corpus of cowards - afriad to speak out about criminal acts by their supeiors for fear of losing their jobs, or crooks - selling plans to the enemy, padding their pockets, taking bribes and disrespecting the public good.


)J@Zz( said...

I see it like a secret-unit. Once you accept a position for the government. It's one group, bonded to each other. It's like being sworn to secrecy without even knowing it? And if someone felt as if they wanted to exercise their rights, they could; only with repercussions. You have broken the vow of secrecy...? I can't agree personally with the process, but I do understand that it exists. I would like to say that I enjoyed this post...I'm impressed with you and all of your hard work. That's the best thing you can do in a lifetime and it's truly attractive:)
lol xoxo

NegroPino™ said...

SO its kinda like the police force and their blue wall of silence....u not supposed to go against the brotherhood no matter how wrong it is.

P said...

How booty is this?

So, if someone speaks up, does the right thing, and becomes a whistleblower, they are NOW subject to retaliation?

Sigh. This makes me feel as safe as Homeland "Security".

Sylvia Hubbard said...

And that's a bunch of what? .>>WTF! We really need to stop being quiet about things and start to tell. I bet if enuf of us get angry - i mean really angry - they'll take it back (Not!)

We're so use to hearing don't be a tattle tale.

I say, Tell cow! Tell!

I guess that's why I don't have that many friends.

But okay, so this "law" is in place, but that shouldn't stop you. There's always the anonymous and the media that loves to break stories like this without giving up their resources.

I bet "Deep Throat" is still making money. LOL.

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