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Inc. v. City of Northlake O'Hare Truck Service


This case extended freedom of speech and association to government contractors as well as public employees.

O'Hare Truck Service, owned by John Gratzianna, had been on the city of Northlake's rotation list of towing services since 1965. Over almost 30 years, Gratzianna had donated money and services to various politicians to cultivate business. He had every indication that his company provided good service and that the city would continue to give him work. In 1993, the incumbent mayoral candidate, Reid Paxson, asked Gratzianna for a campaign contribution of "more than $1,000," according to a story by Joan Biskupic in the Washington Post. Not only did Gratzianna not contribute, he displayed posters for Paxson's opponent. Following Paxson's reelection, O'Hare Truck Service was removed from the city's rotation list. The ensuing court case was an important chapter in the history of U.S. patronage practices.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1995 to PresentInc. v. City of Northlake O'Hare Truck Service - Significance, The Patronage System, Elrod, Branti, Rutan, The Case In The Lower Courts