Understanding legal jargon:Rankin v McPherson (1987)

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Purpose: In order to gain practice understanding legal jargon, students will review court cases and summarize the facts from the case in a brief. Writing briefs will also help deepen your understanding of specific issues affecting public administration.

Topic: In Chapter 2 (Rosenbloom), you learned about the constitutional context of public administration and the administrative state. One topic detailed in the chapter included First Amendment Rights and how they apply to public employees. Three cases were mentioned that addressed this topic:

●    Rankin v McPherson (1987)
●    United States v National Treasury Employees Union (1995)
●    Rutan v Republican Party of Illnois (1990)

Instructions: Choose one of the above court cases and research the case. Then, compose a brief summarizing the case. The brief should be no more than two pages and ideally should be one. For this class, your brief should maintain the following structure and categories:

Title of Case (Case No.)

Facts: Detail the facts of the case including identification of who is the petition party, the respondent, and a very brief timeline of how the case wound up at this critical decision. Your fact section should be about 5 to 8 sentences.

Issue: Briefly summarize what was the issue. Was it an individual constitutional right issue? What is the critical question at hand?

Rule: What was the rule or agency action under question? If it was an agency rule or agency action, what is the legal statue governing the agency action? What is the guiding principle of the statue?

Application: The application is the reason we have this ruling. What was the general rationale of the court? It is usually an explanation of how a law is interpreted. It may discuss precedent or use an analogy.

Conclusion: What did the court decide, by what vote?
Impact: How has this ruling impacted public administration historically and in our current environment?

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