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The speech of a government lawyer is subject to independent regulation by canons of the profession. Those canons provide an obligation to speak in certain instances. And where that is so, the government’s own interest in forbidding that speech is diminished. Cf. Legal Services Corporation v. Velazquez, 531 U. S. 533, 544 (2001) (“Restricting LSC [Legal Services Corporation] attorneys in advising their clients and in presenting arguments and analyses to the courts distorts the legal system by altering the traditional role of the attorneys”). See also Polk County v. Dodson, 454 U. S. 312, 321 (1981) (“[A] public defender is not amenable to administrative direction in the same sense as other employees of the State”). See generally Post, Subsidized Speech, 106Yale L. J. 151, 172 (1996) (“[P]rofessionals must always qualify their loyalty and commitment to the vertical hierarchy of an organization by their horizontal commitment to general professional norms and standards”). The objective specificity and public availability of the profession’s canons also help to diminish the risk that the courts will improperly interfere with the government’s necessary authority to manage its work.


The Constitution itself here imposes speech obligations upon the government’s professional employee. A prosecutor ...

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