The question of whether a government employee may be dismissed solely because of his political party affiliation is of continuing importance to some twelve and a half million employees at all levels of government. The right to associate with the political party of one's choice is protected by the first and fourteenth amendments to the Constitution of the United States. Therefore, dismissal of a government employee solely because he is a Democrat or Republican infringes on his first amendment right to free political association. Although lower-echelon employees are protected by civil service restrictions on patronage removals, most higher level employees are not.
James L. Seay Jr., Constitutional Law - A New Test for Political Firings, 3 Campbell L. Rev. 103 (1981).