Political patronage dismissal is not a new phenomenon, but judicial recognition of claims specifically alleging improper dismissal based on political affiliation has occurred only within the last twenty years. While the federal circuit courts have struggled to establish a standard by which to adjudicate patronage dismissal cases, their struggles have resulted in a plethora of inconsistent conclusions. Neither has the Supreme Court constructed a sufficiently concrete test to determine when an employee is exempt from patronage dismissal. The Elrod test is flawed in not limiting dismissals to political policymakers, and the Branti test is inadequate as it delegates the selection of occupations requiring political affiliation to the hiring authority. This subjectivity, combined with the absence of a concrete standard applicable to other job classifications, indicates that a proper standard is needed. This Note suggests that a workable standard exists in an objective examination of the duties performed by individual employees.
Note, An Objective and Practical Test for Adjudicating Political Patronage Dismissals, 35 Clev. St. L. Rev. 277 (1987)