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Board of Regents of State Colleges v. Roth

Citation. 408 U.S. 564, 92 S.Ct. 2701, 33 L.Ed.2d 548 (1972).

Brief Fact Summary.

Plaintiff challenged university on due process grounds after he was not rehired for the academic year and given no decision or opportunity to challenge the decision.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

The requirements of procedural due process, guaranteeing right to adequate notice and a hearing concerning the denial, only apply to the denial of life, liberty, and property. The burden is on the individual asserting the right.


Plaintiff was hired as an assistant professor of political science at the Defendant’s university. At the end of the year, he was informed that he would not be rehired without any additional explanation or opportunity to challenge the decision. Plaintiff had no tenure rights and the decision was left in the sole discretion of university officials. Plaintiff brought suit, challenging the decision under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.


Whether the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment includes a constitutional right to a statement of reasons and hearing upon not being rehired.


No. The Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment does not include a constitutional right to a statement of reasons and hearing upon not being rehired.


Justice Marshall

Every citizen who applies for a government job is entitled to it unless the government can establish some reason for denying the employment. The job is a property right. Due process is only burdensome when the government acts improperly.


The requirement of due process apply only to the deprivation of liberty and property, which are broad, but not infinite terms. The terms of the Plaintiff’s appointment secured absolutely no interest in re-employment for the next year. They supported absolutely no possible claim of entitlement to re-employment. No state statute or university rule. or policy is implicated either. As such, there is no property interest sufficient to require a hearing as there has been no deprivation of liberty or property. Judgement reversed.

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