Restricting Public Employees' Political Activities: Good Government or Partisan Politics?
Posted: 2 Apr 2001
This article argues that the Supreme Court's unequal treatment of public employees in the areas of patronage and the regulation of their political activity is unwarranted. The article first analyses the Supreme Court jurisprudence in the areas of patronage and the regulation of the ability of public employees to engage in political activities. It then looks at these two areas and inquires what are the government objectives when enacting laws regulating public employees' political activities and when engaging in the practice of patronage. The article argues that in both cases, government's primary objective is to control, or manipulate the political process, by providing incentives (negative and positive) to influence the decision of public employees to be politically active. The article provides empirical support for this proposition. It concludes that the Court's approach to these two areas is misinformed, since it fails to incorporate the argument raised in the article.
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