Heffernan v. Patterson Opinion Analysis

Posted: May 25, 2016 by beguide in Opinion Breakdown, Uncategorized

BACKGROUND IN A NUTSHELL:  Plaintiff was a police officer who was punished at work for accidentally engaging in political speech.

WHO WON? The police officer won 6-2

WHO WROTE THE OPINION?  Roberts

IS IT WORTH READING?  No.  Gist is that the Constitution prevents government action more than it protects the individual’s right to speech, so the City’s action was more the issue than the person’s right to speak.

ANY DISSENTS:  Yes

BY WHO?  Who else, Thomas and Alito

IT IS WORTH READING?  No.  Assume the opposite of everything in the majority opinion, with Thomas’ usual flair for missing the point entirely.

SHOULD YOU CARE?  Probably not.

WHY NOT?  No real precedent was set, aside from resolving what happens when the government accidentally steps on your toes banning your speech.  If anything, this reserves your right to act more recklessly as a government employee, so go nuts out there.

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