Title

Reply Brief. Alves v. Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, 136 S.Ct. 1838 (2016) (No. 15-971), 2016 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 1644, 2016 WL 1529713

Document Type

Court Brief

Publication Date

4-12-2016

Abstract

QUESTION PRESENTED Pickering v. Board of Education of Township High School District held that a government employee may be protected by the First Amendment when he or she speaks as a citizen about a matter of public importance. Garcetti v. Ceballos explained that a government worker does not speak as a citizen if his or her speech is pursuant to his or her duties. The interrelated questions presented are: (1) Is a worker's speech pursuant to his or her duties, and thus outside the protection of the First Amendment: (a) whenever the speech has the purpose or effect of furthering those responsibilities (the rule in the Sixth, Tenth, Eleventh and District of Columbia Circuits), or (b) only when the speech was something the employer expected the worker to engage in (the rule in the Second, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits)? (2) When an employee's speech involves several topics, only some of which are matters of public concern, does Pickering apply: (a) only when the “main thrust” or primary purpose of the speech as a whole was a matter of public concern (the rule in the Fifth, Eighth, Tenth and Eleventh Circuits), or *ii (b) when any portion of the speech was a matter of public concern (the rule in the First, Second, Third, Fourth and Sixth Circuits)? (3) Does the question of whether an employee's speech was about a matter of public concern generally turn on: (a) whether the employee spoke with the purpose of addressing a matter of public concern, rather than furthering his or her own interests (the rule in the Seventh, Eighth and Eleventh Circuits), or (b) whether the content of the speech was a matter of public concern (the rule in the First, Second, Third, Sixth and Ninth Circuits)?

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