Saturday, May 17, 2014

Bailey v. Richardson case brief summary

Bailey v. Richardson case brief summary

Bailey was a civil service employee of the U.S. Government.  She was discharged from his employment for allegedly having associations with Communist groups. Bailey claimed that the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution required that she should be afforded a quasi-judicial hearing before her dismissal.

CASE FACTSThe Regional Board advised the Federal Security Agency, whom for which Bailey was employed, that it has reason to believe she was disloyal to the United States Government.  The agency was instructed to remove her from service. Bailey appealed to the Loyalty Review Board, requesting a hearing.  The hearing was held before the panel without testimony from any other witnesses besides Bailey. Bailey asserted that her Fifth Amendment due process right was violated because she was denied reinstatement without being told the names of those who informed the Government against her, and she was not told the methods by which her activities were detected.

RULESThe due process clause provides: “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” However, government employ is not “property” under the Fifth Amendment, neither is it a contract.   

ISSUEWas the President required to either allow Bailey, a person whose loyalty he reasonably questioned, to continue her employment, or was he required to publicly reveal the methods by which he detected disloyalty and/or the names of persons who assisted him?

HOLDINGNo. The due process of law clause of the Fifth Amendment does not restrict the President’s discretion or the prescriptive power of Congress in respect to executive personnel. A hearing was not required prior to termination, as government employment is not a property right that is encompassed by the Fifth Amendment.

ANALYSISEven in normal times (without Communist threats), the ability, integrity and loyalty of purely executive employees is exclusively for the government's executive branch to determine.
Judge Edgertons dissented.  The judge's dissent involved First and Sixth Amendments rights, and did not address any of Bailey’s Fifth Amendment claims.  

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