A federal appeals court in Washington, DC, recently upheld key aspects of President Donald Trump’s gag order, which requires federal employees to get approval from the White House before speaking with members of Congress or the media about government policies or programs.
The ruling, a two-to-one decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, found that the White House’s policy was within its constitutional prerogative and did not violate the First Amendment rights of federal employees.
The court found that the policy did not prevent federal workers from engaging in protected speech outside the scope of their official duties. It also held that the government had a “compelling interest” in promoting a unified message from executive agencies on policy matters.
The decision was seen as a victory for the Trump administration, which has sought to shield the executive branch from personnel and political leaks. The gag order has been in effect since 2017 and has been enforced by several agencies, including the State Department, the Commerce Department and the National Labor Relations Board.
The ruling could also have implications for other executive orders that have been blocked, including one that would prohibit federal contractors from asking job applicants about their prior salary. The appeals court’s decision could pave the way for the reinstatement of some of these orders.