Arnett v. Kennedy 416 U.S. 134 (1974)

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ARNETT v. KENNEDY 416 U.S. 134 (1974)

A fragmented Supreme Court held, 6–3, that a federal civil service employee had no procedural due process right to a full hearing before being dismissed. Justice william h. rehnquist, for three Justices, concluded that because the governing statute had provided for removal of an employee to "promote the efficiency of the service," the employee's "property" interest was conditioned by this limitation. Thus due process required no predismissal hearing. The other six Justices rejected this view, concluding that the Constitution itself defined the protection required, once the guarantee of procedural due process attached. However, three of the six found no right to a predismissal hearing in the protection defined by the Constitution. The dissenters, led by Justice william j. brennan, argued that goldberg v. kelly (1970) demanded a predismissal hearing, and commented that Justice Rehnquist's view would revive the "right-privilege" distinction that Goldberg had rejected. In bishop v. wood (1976) the Rehnquist position came to command a majority of the Court.

Kenneth L. Karst

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Arnett v. Kennedy 416 U.S. 134 (1974)

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