Garcetti in Delaware: New Limits on Public Employees' Speech
Delaware Law Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 23-41, 2009
21 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2010 Last revised: 28 Apr 2010
Date Written: 2009
In 2006, the Supreme Court decided Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006), which significantly altered the free speech rights of the more than 18 million Americans who are public employees for federal, state or local government. It revised the test it had formerly used for public employee speech and, in so doing, dramatically diminished the scope of their rights. This has significant implications not only for the individuals involved, but for the public at large, and for the praxis of democracy in America: by limiting what public employees can say about their workplaces, the Court has reduced the amount of information that Americans have access to about the functioning of government. Lower court cases implementing Garcetti confirm that public employees have far less recourse than before when they are punished for raising concerns about their government workplaces such as problems in environmental compliance, cost overruns, racial discrimination, and so on. This article examines the Garcetti decision and then reviews the Third Circuit and Delaware cases applying it.
Keywords: Free Speech, Public Employees, Delaware, Garcetti, Government Employees
JEL Classification: K10, K20, K31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation