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Lane v. Franks, No. 13-483 (June 19, 2014).

Articles Discussing Case:

Supreme Court Rules that Public Employee's Testimony Is Protected by First Amendment

FordHarrison LLP • June 24, 2014
Executive Summary: The U.S. Supreme Court recently held that a public employee's truthful sworn testimony, under subpoena, which was not part of his ordinary job duties, was entitled to First Amendment protection. See Lane v. Franks (June 19, 2014).

U.S. Supreme Court Unanimously Holds That Public Employee’s Truthful Subpoenaed Testimony Was Protected Speech Under the First Amendment

Franczek Radelet P.C • June 23, 2014
It has long been recognized that public employees are not excluded from First Amendment protection, and for more than 40 years the courts have wrestled with balancing the free speech rights of a public employee against the interest of the public employer in controlling the operation of the workplace to ensure efficient delivery of public services. Under Supreme Court precedents, the test for determining whether the speech is protected by the First Amendment requires an initial showing that the employee spoke as a “citizen” on a matter of “public concern.” These terms of art are significant, because if the public employee’s speech is pursuant to the employee’s “official duties,” then the speech is not entitled to First Amendment protection. In yesterday’s unanimous decision in Lane v. Franks, the Court applied this firmly-established legal standard, and ruled that a public community college employee’s truthful subpoenaed testimony in a public corruption trial was protected speech under the First Amendment. Although the employee’s testimony addressed information he learned during the course of his employment, testifying in court proceedings was not within the scope of his ordinary job duties, and therefore his testimony was protected even though it concerned those duties.

Supreme Court Rules Public Employee’s Sworn Testimony Is Protected

Ogletree Deakins • June 20, 2014
Declaring that “public employees do not renounce their citizenship when they accept employment,” the Supreme Court of the United States held today that the First Amendment protects a public employee’s truthful sworn testimony, compelled by subpoena. According to Justice Sotomayor, who delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court in Lane v. Franks, the issue turned on whether the employee’s speech was made pursuant to his ordinary job duties or whether the “employee spoke as a citizen on a matter of public concern.” The Court found that the testimony of the employee in this case was made as a citizen on a matter of public concern and that “public employers may not condition employment on the relinquishment of constitutional rights.” Lane v. Franks, No. 13-483, Supreme Court of the United States (June 19, 2014).
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