I read an article Wednesday in the SF Chronicle (or as I've been known to refer to it...the "comical") about a recent Supreme Court decision that in essence allows government employees who blow the whistle on suspicious behavior to be punished for whistle-blowing.
The case involves an LA prosecutor who claimed that a policeman had lied to obtain a search warrant. After writing the memo, he was essentially re-assigned and denied a promotion. It doesn't say whether, ultimately, the prosecutor was correct or not...certainly an important point it would seem.
The ruling basically allows the government to punish these whistleblowers by doing what they did. Certainly understanding whether the claim was true ultimately is very important.
The first confusing thing was this quote:
"We reject, however, the notion that the First Amendment shields from discipline the expressions employees make pursuant to their professional duties,"
If the expression is pursuant to their professional duties, shouldn't that be exactly where the First Amendment comes into play.
What further confused me was the fact that the according to the article (to loosely quote it) and analysis of the opinion, the possibility remains open that an employee, such as Ceballos, might be shielded by the 1st Ammend. if he acted as a "citizen" rather than in an official capacity, and took his complaints to a newspaper or a state legislator.
If that isn't totally confusing I don't know what is. It's protectable to talk to the papers, but talk to your superiors and you'll be Serpico'd.
Sure is good to know that if something's amiss in the government, it may likely be ignored for fear of retribution.