Impact of the “Garcetti” Ruling

By Lata Nott, Executive Director, First Amendment Center

August 5, 2017

In 2006, the Supreme Court ruled on a case called Garcetti v. Ceballos, creating a categorical rule: “When public employees make statements pursuant to their official duties, the employees are not speaking as citizens for First Amendment purposes, and the Constitution does not insulate their communications from employer discipline.”

First Amendment Center scholar David L. Hudson, Jr. calls this “one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in years.”:

“It’s been on the books for more than a decade, wreaking havoc on employees and bastardizing free speech jurisprudence. Those representing employees who have suffered because of the Supreme Court decision have labeled such lower court rulings as being ‘Garcettized.’…Stated more simply, when public employees engage in official, job-duty speech, they are not speaking as citizens but public employees and have no free-speech rights at all. None. Zero.”

-Excerpt from “No Free Speech For You”, Slate Magazine, August 4, 2017

To learn more about the impact of Garcetti v. Ceballos, see our news coverage of cases involving the rule that it created: