You read about the case in Minnesota a week back, but there was another one this week and the impact is likely to be much clearer, assuming the other courts find the reasoning persuasive.
This one was a big win for Academic Freedom, yesterday–at least for me, given this whole bit of shenannigans (i.e., The Lounge).
Here’s a bit about it from The Chronicle:
Squarely tackling the question of whether the speech of a faculty member at a public college is covered by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2006 ruling in Garcetti v. Ceballos, which held that public agencies can discipline their employees for any statements made in connection with their jobs, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit answered with an emphatic no.
“Applying Garcetti to the academic work of a public-university faculty member under the facts of this case could place beyond the reach of First Amendment protection many forms of public speech or service a professor engaged in during his employment,” the appellate panel’s unanimous decision says. “That would not appear to be what Garcetti intended, nor is it consistent with our long-standing recognition that no individual loses his ability to speak as a private citizen by virtue of public employment.”
The ruling overturns a U.S. District Court’s decision to reject Mr. Adams’s assertions that the speech at issue in the case was constitutionally protected.
“Put simply,” the panel said, “Adams’s speech was not tied to any more specific or direct employee duty than the general concept that professors will engage in writing, public appearances, and service within their respective fields.”
Yeah, to you, Fourth Circuit Appeals Judges!