A June 2021 Report by the University of Florida’s Brechner Center for Freedom of Information highlighted the Clinic’s analysis finding that more than 20 Georgia state agencies have formal policies that restrain their employees’ speech in constitutionally questionable ways.
Twelve agencies categorically forbid anyone but a public-relations spokesperson from speaking to news media and nine agencies require employees to get approval before speaking to the press. An unqualified ban on public employees granting media interviews, “especially when backed up by the threat of adverse personnel action, remains presumptively unconstitutional as a prior restraint on speech.” Frank D. LoMonte, Putting the ‘Public’ Back into Public Employment: A Roadmap for Challenging Prior Restraints That Prohibit Government Employees from Speaking to the News Media, 68(1) Kan. L. Rev. 1, 3 (2019).
The Clinic’s data collection and analysis was conducted by students Taran Harmon-Walker (JD ’21)and Julia Griffis (JD ’21) under the supervision of Clinic director Clare R. Norins.