O'HARE TRUCK SERVICE v. NORTHLAKE

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
95-191
Petitioner 
O'Hare Truck Service
Respondent 
Northlake
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the respondents)
(Argued the cause for the petitioners)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

O'Hare Truck Service was one among several towing companies employed by the city of Northlake. Northlake kept a list of available towing companies and would only remove a company from its list after a showing of cause. In the present case, however, Northlake removed O'Hare Truck Service from its list because O'Hare's owner did not support Northlake's mayoral candidate in his reelection campaign. Instead, O'Hare's owner supported the opposition candidate. Upon removal from Northlake's employment list, O'Hare Truck Service filed suit alleging that its dismissal was a retaliation for its lack of support for Northlake's mayoral candidate. The dismissal was the cause of substantial loss in income. On appeal from the District Court's dismissal for failure to state a First Amendment violation, the Seventh Circuit affirmed. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Question 

Did O'Hare Truck Service's removal from Northlake's employment list, as a result of its support for an opposition mayoral candidate, violate O'Hare Truck Services freedom of speech?

Conclusion 
Decision: 7 votes for O'Hare Truck Service, 2 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Association

Yes. The Court held, in an opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy, that independent contractors, such as O'Hare Truck Service, are entitled to the same First Amendment protections as those afforded to government employees. Accordingly, Northlake could not condition the towing company's employment on its political affiliations or beliefs unless Northlake could demonstrate that O'Hare's political affiliations had a reasonable and appreciable effect on its job performance. The Court held that Northlake neither attempted nor would it have been able to make such a demonstration. Therefore, Northlake's removal of O'Hare Truck Service from its employment list was unconstitutional.

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O'HARE TRUCK SERVICE v. NORTHLAKE. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 22 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1995/1995_95_191>.
O'HARE TRUCK SERVICE v. NORTHLAKE, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1995/1995_95_191 (last visited October 22, 2014).
"O'HARE TRUCK SERVICE v. NORTHLAKE," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 22, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1995/1995_95_191.