Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


Mike Harper


In Connick v. Myers the Supreme Court developed a test to determine whether a public employer's sanctions of an employee for expressive activity receives First Amendment scrutiny. The Connick test has drawn heavy criticism from scholars, and the problems stem from ambiguities in the decision itself. This Note examines the Connick holding, highlights its guiding principles, and argues how, as well as the circumstances under which, the Connick test should be applied. The Note concludes that courts should ask two questions in considering whether to apply Connick in a new First Amendment situation: (1) Is the behavior protected?; and (2) Would scrutiny of these claims constitutionalize what is otherwise merely an employee grievance?