Under Ohio Law
Loudermill was classified as a civil servant
Could only be terminated for cause.
Loudermill was entitled to administrative review if discharged.
Loudermills federal constitutional claims
Depends on his having had a property right in continued
If he did, the State could not deprive him of this property
without due process.
Property interests are not created by the Constitution
Created and their dimensions defined by existing rules or
understandings that stem from an independent source such as
- Statute create a property interest
The statute plainly creates such an interest, as Loudermill and
other civil service employees are entitled to retain their
positions during "good behavior and efficient service," and
cannot be dismissed "except for misfeasance, malfeasance, or
nonfeasance in office."
- Possessed property rights in continued employment
The statute plainly supports the conclusion that respondents
possessed property rights in continued employment.
Board argues - Property right is conditioned
that the property right is defined by, and conditioned on, the
legislature's choice of procedures for its deprivation.
The Board stresses that in addition to specifying the grounds
for termination, the statute sets out procedures by which
termination may take place.
The procedures were adhered to in these cases.
According to the Board, to require additional procedures would,
in effect, expand the scope of the property interest itself.
This argument, which was accepted by the district court, has
its genesis in the plurality opinion in Arnett v. Kennedy.
Arnett v. Kennedy
Holding that where the legislation conferring the substantive
right also sets out the procedural mechanism for enforcing that
right, the two cannot be separated.
The bitter with the sweet approach misconceives the
Life, Liberty, and Property cannot be deprived
The Due Process Clause provides that life, liberty, and property
cannot be deprived except pursuant to constitutionally adequate
The categories of substance and procedure are distinct.
Procedures cannot deprive property
Property cannot be defined by the procedures provided for its
deprivation any more than can life or liberty.
The right to due process is conferred not by legislative grace,
but by constitutional guarantee, and while the legislature may
elect not to confer a property interest in public employment, it
may not constitutionally authorize the deprivation of such an
interest, once conferred, without appropriate procedural
DISSENT - Justice Rehnquist
Dismissed without a hearing
In Arnett six members of this Court agreed that a public
employee could be dismissed for misconduct without a full
hearing prior to termination.
Entitled to nothing more than what Congress gave him
plurality of Justices agreed that the employee was entitled to
exactly what Congress gave him, and no more.
Here, as in Arnett, the employee's statutorily defined right is
not a guarantee against removal without cause in the abstract,
but such a guarantee as enforced by the procedures which Ohio's
legislature has designated for the determination of cause.
We ought to recognize the totality of the State's definition of
the property right in question, and not merely seize upon one of
several paragraphs in a unitary statute.