Monday, June 12, 2006

L.A. Court declares open season on whistleblowers

Mack Reed, writing for the L.A. Voice, tells how the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled 5 to 4 that whistle-blowers can be legally punished for upholding the law:

The nation's highest court just ruled that an L.A. County prosecutor had no constitutional protection under whistle-blowing laws when he was demoted and passed over for promotion after writing a memo questioning whether a sheriff's deputy had lied in an affidavit for a search warrant...

Over on Online Journal, Evelyn Pringle has more details about both the ruling and the case that lead up to it. It appears to be a straightforward case of a government-employed attorney being punished for trying to uphold the law in the face of outrageous police corruption.

It is interesting to see where the nine Supreme Court judges fell:

Declared that whistle-blowers' speech is not protected by the First Amendment:
Anthony Kennedyappointed by Ronald Reagan
John Robertsappointed by George Bush Jr
Antonin Scaliaappointed by Ronald Reagan
Clarence Thomasappointed by George Bush Sr
Samuel Alitoappointed by George Bush Jr

Declared that whistle-blowers' speech is protected by the First Amendment:
John Paul Stevensappointed by Gerald Ford
David Souterappointed by George Bush Sr
Ruth Bader Ginsburgappointed by Bill Clinton
Stephen Breyerappointed by Bill Clinton

Fascinating to see that, with the exception of Justice Souter, all the "no protection, fire at will" judges were appointed by presidents who claimed to stand for smaller, more accountable government.

More detail on the ruling from Gov Exec.

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