Notable Items:

In these circumstances we conclude that the interest of the school administration in limiting teachers' opportunities to contribute to public debate is not significantly greater than its interest in limiting a similar contribution by any member of the general public. [Crux of the matter]
Petitioner: Marvin L. Pickering
Respondent: Township High School District 205, Will County, Illinois
Venue: Supreme Court of the United States
Opinion of the Court: Pickering v. Board of Education (1968)

Issue(s) Before the Court:

Appellant, on the other hand, argues that the test applicable to defamatory statements directed against public officials by persons having no occupational relationship with them, namely, that statements to be legally actionable must be made "with knowledge that [they were] ... false or with reckless disregard of whether [they were] ... false or not," New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U. S. 254, 280 (1964), should also be applied to public statements made by teachers.

Petitioner's Claim(s):

Respondent's Claim(s):

The Board contends that "the teacher by virtue of his public employment has a duty of loyalty to support his superiors in attaining the generally accepted goals of education and that, if he must speak out publicly, he should do so factually-and accurately, commensurate with his education and experience."

Holding(s) and Disposition:

The teacher's interest as a citizen in making public comment must be balanced against the State's interest in promoting the efficiency of its employees' public services.
Those statements of appellant's which were substantially cor- rect regarded matters of public concern and presented no questions of faculty discipline or harmony; hence those statements afforded no proper basis for the Board's action in dismissing appellant.
Appellant's statements which were false likewise concerned issues then currently the subject of public attention and were neither shown nor could be presumed to have interfered with appellant's performance of his teaching duties or the schools' general operation. They were thus entitled to the same protection as if they had been made by a member of the general public, .... New York Times Co. v. Sullivan Disposition:

Material Facts:

Procedural History:


Marshall Majority Opinion (Warren, Black, Douglas, Harlan, Brennan, Stewart, Fortas)

White Concurrance in part, dissent in part (??) (582)

Full Recounting of Facts

Marshall Majority Full Argument (Warren, Black, Douglas, Harlan, Brennan, Stewart, Fortas)