The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit wrestled with whether rules limiting federal judiciary employees’ political activity should be reinstated to help preserve the impartiality of the judicial branch, or remain unenforceable to protect the First Amendment rights of the workers.

Judges Justin Walker, Harry T. Edwards and Karen LeCraft Henderson heard arguments in a case challenging Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts rules implemented in 2018 that barred employees from expressing opinions on social media about political parties or candidates, displaying campaign signs or buttons, and attending political fundraisers and making contributions to parties or candidates, among other restrictions. Two employees claimed the rules violated their right to free speech.