San Diego Law Review

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



First, this Article describes the development of the patronage and civil service systems with a reflection on how they work in tandem. Then, the trio of cases, Elrod v. Burns, Branti v. Finkel, and Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois, is reviewed. How the federal circuit courts have responded to these three cases is examined both in their immediate aftermath and in decisions in more recent cases. Finally, the Article discusses some specific examples of how the current law creating First Amendment rights against negative employment decisions for patronage appointees is not working and how it should be changed.