Court considers whistleblower free speech rights

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is considering the free speech rights of government workers who claim they suffered retaliation for exposing official corruption.

The justices heard arguments Monday in the case of Edward Lane, a former Alabama community college official who says he was fired after testifying at the criminal fraud trial of a state lawmaker. Lane is suing the former college president who fired him as well as the current president.

The high court has previously ruled that the First Amendment protects public workers only when they speak out as citizens, but not in their official roles.

Most justices appeared to side with Lane's view that his testimony on corruption should be constitutionally protected even if it covers facts learned at work. Lower courts ruled against him.

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