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Rankin v. McPherson - "i Hope They Get Him", Pickering And Connick, Comment A Matter Of Public Concern, "simply Violent"

respondent petitioner court board


Constable Walter Rankin


Ardith McPherson

Petitioner's Claim

That the respondent's dismissal was a reasonable exercise of the government's interest in maintaining an efficient workplace.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Billy E. Lee

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Lloyd N. Cutler

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall (writing for the Court), Lewis F. Powell, Jr., John Paul Stevens

Justices Dissenting

William H. Rehnquist, Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Byron R. White


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

24 June 1987


The Court held that the respondent's speech was on a matter of public concern, and was therefore protected by the First Amendment.


This case addressed the necessity of striking a balance between a public employer's right to maintain an efficient workplace and a public employee's right to free speech.

Related Cases

  • Pickering v. Board of Education, 391 U.S. 563 (1968).
  • Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347 (1976).
  • Mt. Healthy City School District Board of Education v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274 (1977).
  • Connick v. Myers, 461 U.S. 138 (1983).
Roberts v. U.S. Jaycees - Significance, Rebellion In The Ranks, Never Say Die, The Supreme Court Decides, Exclusive Clubs And Discrimination [next] [back] Pulley v. Harris - Significance

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