This Note explores the public law of whistleblowing through the lens of the Ancient Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC). It first describes the current discourse on whistleblowing, justifications for whistleblowing, and a contemporary jurisprudential theory that examines those justifications. Then, the Note will explain Cicero’s theory on one’s duty to the state through acceptable public behavior, and how it relates to jurisprudence via the lens of morality. Next, the Note will apply Cicero’s theory to the case Department of Homeland Security v. Maclean to illustrate how the Supreme Court of the United States (the “Court”) has used precedent to justify the legal protection of whistleblowers. This Note analyzes the extent to which whistleblowing is an example of one’s duty to the state.
As such, the Court recognizes this importance and has an obligation to protect certain whistleblowers through the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989. Thus, whistleblowers should not be persecuted for simply adhering to their moral obligations to the state. Not only would persecution violate the Whistleblower Protection Act, but also Section 1 of the 14th Amendment in tandem with the United States Code, protecting all citizens equally.
"Whistleblowing as a Ciceronian Moral Obligation to the State,"
Fordham Undergraduate Law Review: Vol. 1
, Article 7.
Available at: https://research.library.fordham.edu/fulr/vol1/iss1/7