DAVIS v. PASSMAN

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
78-5072
Petitioner 
Davis
Respondent 
Passman
Advocates
(Argued the cause pro hac vice for petitioner)
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

Davis, a former employee of Louisiana Congressman Otto Passman, charged Passman with violating her Fifth Amendment right to due process. Prior to the time of her firing Passman wrote a note explaining that, even though he knew Davis as an "able, energetic, and a hard, hard worker", he preferred a man to work in her position. The Court of Appeals ruled that Davis had no civil remedies under the Fifth Amendment due process requirement.

Question 

Did the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause afford Davis a right to a civil remedy against Passman?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for Davis, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Equal Protection

Yes. Relying on Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents (1971) and Butz v. Economou (1978), the Court reversed the lower court's conclusions. Both cases affirmed a citizen's right to bring suit against federal officers for constitutional violations. In this case, Passman violated Davis's rights through sexual discrimination. The Court added that Passman's actions and words did not constitute protected speech and that a damage remedy provided a ready mechanism for remedial action.

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DAVIS v. PASSMAN. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 10 November 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1978/1978_78_5072>.
DAVIS v. PASSMAN, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1978/1978_78_5072 (last visited November 10, 2014).
"DAVIS v. PASSMAN," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed November 10, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1978/1978_78_5072.