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22 Cap. U. L. Rev. 237 (1993)
Release the Gags: The Hatch Act and Current Legislative Reform - Another Voice for Reform

handle is hein.journals/capulr22 and id is 247 raw text is: RELEASE THE GAGS: THE HATCH ACT AND CURRENT
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution provides,
Congress shall make no law.. . [a]bridging the freedom of speech.'
The courts, of course, have never been willing to find that there is an
absolute right of free speech.' The Supreme Court has justifiably
found that the right of free speech does not include the right to slander
one's neighbor3 or to incite imminent lawlessness or breach of the
peace.4 The Court, however, has continuously found that the right to
engage in political speech is the essence of the First Amendment right
of free speech.5 As such, the Court has found that restrictions on
political speech must pass the most exacting scrutiny or they will be
struck-down.e Unfortunately for those individual's who have chosen
a career in the federal public service, the Court has found that
Congress may place an asterisk beside their First Amendment
rights. The asterisk simply denotes that by accepting a paycheck
from the federal government, an employee agrees to forego his right to
participate actively in the political process.
The means by which the political activity of current employees of
the federal government is curtailed finds its origins within the 1939
enactment of the Hatch Act7 and its subsequent 1940 amendment.8
Pursuant to the Hatch Act, regulations have been developed
establishing which activities by federal employees are permissible9
and which are impermissible.0 The prohibitions, which will be
discussed in more detail, effectively make the public employee a
Copyright © 1993, Michael Bridges.
L U.S. C ONST. amend. I.
2. Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1925), overruled by Brandenburg
v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969); Givhan v. Western Line Consol. Sch. Dist., 439 U.S.
410 (1979); Rosenfeld v. New Jersey, 408 U.S. 901 (1972).
3. Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568 (1942).
4. Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969).
5   5. Dunn & Bradstreet v. Green Moss Builders, Inc., 472 U.S. 749 (1985).
See also Kusper v. Pontikes, 414 U.S. 51, 57 (1973) (The right to associate with
the political party of one's choice is an integral part of this basic constitutional
6. Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 64-65 (1976).
7. Hatch Act, ch. 410, 53 Stat. 1147 (1939).
8. Hatch Act, ch. 640, 59 Stat. 767 (1940).
9. 5 C.F.R. § 733.111 (1991) (listing activities permitted).
10. 5 C.F.R. § 733.121 (1991) (listing activities found to be impermissible).

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