Arnett v. Kennedy

In Arnett v. Kennedy, 416 U.S. 134 (1974), an employee was dismissed from his position in the Office of Economic Opportunity ("OEO") for allegedly having made recklessly false and defamatory statements about other OEO employees. The employee asserted his termination was unlawful because he had a right to an evidentiary hearing before an impartial hearing officer before he could be terminated from his employment. Id. at 137. In a plurality opinion, the Supreme Court rejected this procedural-due-process claim. Id. at 163. Justice Powell, joined by Justice Blackmun, concurred in part and concurred in the result in part, stating: "In most cases, the employee's supervisor is the official best informed about the 'cause' for termination. If disqualification is required on the ground that the responsible supervisor could not be wholly impartial, the removal procedure would become increasingly complex. In effect, a 'mini-trial' would be necessary to educate the impartial decisionmaker as to the basis for termination." Arnett, 416 U.S. at 170-71 n.5.