Teachers, professors can speak more confidently after Supreme Court protects whistleblower's rights

The Supreme Court has taken a step -- whether it's a giant step or a baby step is yet to be seen -- toward restoring sensible First Amendment protection for teachers, professors and other government employees who blow the whistle on wrongdoing they learn about on the job.

Thursday's 9-0 ruling in Lane v. Franks protects government workers against firing, demotion or other retaliatory action for speech addressing matters of public concern, even if those matters relate to the speakers' work responsibilities.

Edward Lane brought the case after he was fired from Central Alabama Community College in 2009, a decision that suspiciously followed his testimony that helped convict an Alabama state legislator of defrauding the taxpayers for holding down a no-show "job" in Lane's department at CACC.