Yep, it’s true. The 1st Amendment applies to government employees too. Which is why these government employees can set up their own unofficial Twitter feeds on their own private time:
So, what about all the gag orders that are coming down from the Trump administration, saying that government employees cannot speak to the media etc.? They are only effective while the employee is at work. Once the employee has left work, the employee has all the same 1st Amendment rights as you and I and can speak as much as he wants, as long as he makes it clear that he is speaking for himself and not for his department.
In short, any attempt to prevent government scientists from releasing government research *on their own time*, or submitting papers to scientific journals *on their own time*, or preventing agency officials from tweeting climate change facts *on their own time*, are blatantly unconstitutional and illegal. The data is public domain. The government legally cannot restrict access to it in any way.
Will that stop the Trump administration? Nope. They’ll fire the employees, then fight the inevitable lawsuits. Then Congress will set the employee’s salary to $1, which basically is the same as firing him. Which will result in *another* lawsuit, since that blatantly violates the Civil Service laws set by Congress, and the Democrats in the Senate for damn sure ain’t gonna let a repeal of Civil Service through without filibustering it. Which is one reason why these feeds are being kept semi-anonymous. It’s easy to figure out who’s behind them, if you have an org chart of the agencies in question, but proving it — and creating an excuse to fire the people behind it — is quite a bit harder.
But in the meantime, it’s hilarious that National Park Service rangers and a dictionary are leading the resistance against the Trump regime….
– Badtux the Free Speech Penguin