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Case Basics
Docket No. 
Wayne Kennedy
Facts of the Case 

Wayne Kennedy was a nonprobationary employee of the federal Office of Economic Opportunity. He was dismissed from his position after allegedly making recklessly false and defamatory statements about other OEO employees. Though he had the right under federal regulations to reply to the charges, he chose instead to sue the agency for interfering with his freedom of expression and denying him due process. A three-judge District Court agreed with Kennedy on the due process claim.


May the federal government dismiss a nonprobationary employee without a trial- type preremoval hearing? Must the federal government provide sufficiently precise guidelines as to what kind of speech might be made the basis for a removal action?

Decision: 5 votes for Arnett, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Due Process

In a plurality opinion written by Justice William H. Rehnquist, the court held that the procedures established for the purpose of determining whether there is "cause" for Kennedy's dismissal satisfied the requirements of procedural due process. The court also held that standard of employment protection imposed by was not impermissibly vague or overbroad in its regulation of the speech of federal employees. The statute in question was not unconstitutional on its face.

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ARNETT v. KENNEDY. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 25 August 2015. <>.
ARNETT v. KENNEDY, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 25, 2015).
"ARNETT v. KENNEDY," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 25, 2015,