To the victor belong only those spoils that may be constitutionally obtained. Elrod v. Burns, 427 U. S. 347 (1976), and Branti v. Finkel, 445 U. S. 507 (1980), decided that the First Amendment forbids government officials to discharge or threaten to discharge public employees solely for not being supporters of the political party in power, unless party affiliation is an appropriate requirement for the position involved. *65 Today we are asked to decide the constitutionality of several related political patronage practices — whether promotion, transfer, recall, and hiring decisions involving low-level public employees may be constitutionally based on party affiliation and support. We hold that they may not.

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