High court shields whistle-blowers
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court shielded public employees from being punished or fired if they testify in court against their superiors, ruling Thursday that the First Amendment protects those who tell the truth and reveal corruption.
Such testimony is “speech as a citizen for First Amendment purposes” and deserves to be protected, the court said in a 9-0 decision.
The ruling revives a lawsuit by a former Alabama community college official. He testified against an influential state legislator who was drawing a paycheck from the college but doing no work. After his testimony, he was fired.
He sued several top college officials, alleging that he was fired for telling the truth in violation of the First Amendment.
The Supreme Court sent the lawsuit back to a lower court.