WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court scaled back protections for government workers who blow the whistle on official misconduct Tuesday, a 5-4 decision in which new Justice Samuel Alito cast the deciding vote. In a victory for the Bush administration, justices said the 20 million public employees do not have free-speech protections for what they say as part of their jobs.
Well, it would seem that Samuel Alito is turning out to be the faithful Bush lapdog that those of on the Left suspected and feared he would be. There is nothing in his judicial track record that indicates his latest vote is out of character. Alito is turning out to be EXACTLY the sort of pro-business, anti-individual, protect employers at all cost Supreme Court justice we suspected he would be.
In this latest case, Alito’s vote effectively silences govenment employees who previously might have alerted the public to incompetence, inefficiency, or malfeasance. Twenty million government employees no longer have free speech rights for what they say if they decide to blow the whistle on ineptitude, waste, or outright corruption. Nice, eh?
Those who support this decision say that this will protect government from disgruntled workers pretending to be whistleblowers, but in reality the effect will be to make it that much more difficult for those who witness malfeasance and corruption to bring it to the public’s attention. Yes, I suppose there might be the occasional disgruntled government worker out there, but is silencing the odd illegitimate dissenter worth the blanket that has been thrown over all government employees?
Critics predicted the impact would be sweeping, from silencing police officers who fear retribution for reporting department corruption, to subduing federal employees who want to reveal problems with government hurricane preparedness or terrorist-related security….
The ruling was perhaps the clearest sign yet of the Supreme Court’s shift with the departure of moderate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and the arrival of Alito.
A year ago, O’Connor authored a 5-4 decision that encouraged whistleblowers to report sex discrimination in schools. The current case was argued in October but not resolved before her retirement in late January.
A new argument session was held in March with Alito on the bench. He joined the court’s other conservatives in Tuesday’s decision, which split along traditional conservative-liberal lines.
So now any government employee who feels honor-bound to follow the dictates of his or her conscience must now also balance the very real likelihood of retaliation from those in positions of power. It would appear that those who do not take care of the People’s Business have just gained yet another layer of protection, thanks to Samuel Alito and the other Conservatives on the Supreme Court.
Stephen Kohn, chairman of the National Whistleblower Center, said: “The ruling is a victory for every crooked politician in the United States.”
Justice David H. Souter’s lengthy dissent sounded like it might have been the majority opinion if O’Connor were still on the court. “Private and public interests in addressing official wrongdoing and threats to health and safety can outweigh the government’s stake in the efficient implementation of policy,” he wrote.
Corruption: the gift that keeps on giving- to Republicans. Still glad you voted Republican?
This decision would seem to be yet another victory for the de facto Republican mission: protecting the corrupt and paving the way for those who would abuse a position of trust for their own advantage.
WE DESERVE BETTER….