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Sam Heldman


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Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Cases for Wednesday, Oct. 12

No. 04-473 Garcetti v. Ceballos.
Quickly, here is a case where a police officer testified about his doubts that a prosecution should go through. Not surprisingly, he was fired. He brought a Section 1983 action claiming that he was retaliated against for the exercise of his First Amendment rights. The problem is that it's not clear that he has any First Amendment rights when it comes to matters like this one, where his speech was part of his job as a public employee. For more thorough preview, see here. The Ninth Circuit thought that this should count as protected speech, and I think the Court will REVERSE.

Update: On Feb. 17, 2006, the Court decided to hear reargument of the case. Stay tuned, but not here, because I update this very very seldomly.

No 04-759 United States v. Olson
The Respondent in this case worked in a mine, but worried that it was not safe. He complained to federal mine inspectors, and then the mine fell in on him. When it came to determine who he should sue, he chose the government. (Of course, he may have sued the mine also, but this case is about whether the government can be liable). The Ninth Circuit held that the government could be liable for failing to adequately inspect the mine in the fact of numerous complaints. I think the Court will REVERSE, and I'll go out on a limb and predict a 9-0 reversal.

Update: On November 8, the Court unanimously Vacated and Remanded, which on this blog counts as a reversal. Justice Breyer's opinion is here.