Withrow v. Larkin Case Brief
Issue: Does the statutory authority given to appellants (Wisconsin Examining Board) to investigate physicians, present charges, and rule on those charges impose punishment, at least to the extent of reprimanding or temporarily suspending his medical license violate due process?
Rule: No, investigation and adjudication by the same agency on essentially the same issues does not, in and of itself, violate due process.
Facts: Wisconsin statute forbid certain medical practices. The statutes also authorizes an examining board of physicians to investigate individuals suspected of forbidden acts, and to temporarily suspend a physician’s license if it finds a violation. The examining board began investigating a physician (Appellee, who performed abortions). The board held an investigative hearing then moved to a contested hearing would be held to determine whether appellee had engaged in prohibited acts of performing abortions at his practice in Milwaukee, and to decide whether his license would be temporarily suspended. Appellee moved for a restraining order against the board conducting a contested hearing. The District Court granted an injunction as there was a substantial federal question existed, and the board (appellant) appealed.
Analysis: Applicable case law rejects the idea that the combination of investigating and judging functions is a denial of due process. Adjudicators start with the presumption that they are persons of “good conscience” and a ruling or predisposition one way, by itself, does not create a risk of bias. A Social Security ALJ investigates the record and adjudicates the claim, judges who are reversed on appeal decide the same cases on remand. Judges also issue arrest warrants and conduct preliminary hearings. This overlap does not violate due process. The board conducted the investigative hearing and contested hearing within bounds (appellee was present, hear the evidence against him, etc.). The board concluded there was probable cause to believe the Appellee had violated the statutes and referred it on for criminal prosecution. The risk of bias and prejudgment was not intolerably high. The initial determination of probable cause and the ultimate adjudication have different purposes; and the fact that same agency makes them in tandem and they relate to the same issues does not result in a procedural due process violation.
Yesler Terrace Community Council v Cisneros Case Brief
37 F3d 442 US Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
Issue: Was HUD’s change to the eviction procedures circumventing notice and comment rule-making or an adjudication?
Rule: When a decision affects individuals prospectively it is a rule, and the notice and comment rule-making procedures cannot be circumvented by calling it an adjudication.
Facts: HUD issued a determination that Washington’s state court eviction procedures satisfied the elements of due process, allowing the public housing authorities to evict tenants accused of criminal activity without affording them a prior grievance hearing. The Housing Authority served Ms. Davidson with a crime-related eviction notice stating she would not be afforded a grievance hearing. Ms. Davidson and Yesler brought an action seeking injunctive relief and declaratory action, claiming HUD’s determination was invalid because it was a rule made without giving public housing tenants notice and an opportunity to comment. HUD responded that the determination was an adjudication which did not require notice and comment. The Court found the determination was a rule and should ave given notice and comment.
Analysis: An adjudication resolves dispute among specific individuals, results in an order, and involves basically anything that is not rule-making; rule-making affects the rights of broad classes of unspecified individuals. rule-making is also prospective. HUD’s own requirements mandate proceeding by notice and comment whenever it promulgates a substantive rule. In this case, the determination had no immediate, concrete effect on any individual, but affected the rights of a broad category of individuals prospectively. Therefore, HUD’s determination was a rule, subject to the notice and comment requirement n rule-making. Reversed and remanded to the lower court.
Bi-metallic Investment Co. v. Colorado Case Brief
Issue: Do all equally concerned individuals have a constitutional right to be heard on a challenge before a matter can be decided?
Rule: No, individuals do not have constitutional standing merely as equally situated members of the public to challenge government action or imposition of taxes.
Facts: The State Board of Equalization and the Colorado Tax Commission put into force an increase in the valuation of all taxable property in Denver by forty percent. The Plaintiff owned property in Denver. The Plaintiff filed suit seeking to arguing it was not given an opportunity to be heard in connection with the tax increase, and therefore it was not provided due process of law. The order was sustained and the suit directed to be dismissed by the Supreme Court of the State of Colorado. The Supreme Court affirmed the denial.
Analysis: Where a rule will apply to more than a few people it is impracticable that each of them should have a direct voice in its adoption. “There must be a limit to individual argument in such matters if government is to go on”. The Constitution does not require that all acts be done in a public forum.
Londoner v. Denver Case Brief
210 US 373 (1908)
Issue: Did the city comply with due process by making landowners aware via publication and opportunity to submit objections but not a hearing?
Rule: No, publication and the opportunity to submit objects, as made in this case, without at least an informal hearing, does not comply with standards of due process.
Facts: A tax was assessed on landowners of property adjacent to improvements made by the city that benefited from the improvements. Before action notice must have been given by publication for 10 days (paper of gen. circulation) and an opportunity to be heard/object. The city charter specified the notice did not fix the time for a hearing, but stated that written complaints filed within thirty days would be heard before the city council before the passage of any ordinance assessing the cost of the improvements. The plaintiffs filed timely with objections, but did not affording the homeowners an opportunity to be heard on their allegations. The city council met and adopted a resolution to make the improvement and assess the tax. The plaintiffs sought relief from the tax in the State Court of Colorado, claiming the process of assessing the tax denied them due process of law. The trial court granted relief to the plaintiffs, but the State Supreme Court reversed, holding that the tax assessed was consistent with the Constitution and the laws of the State. The US Supreme Court reversed in favor of the homeowners.
Analysis: The constitution allows great latitude to states in the assessment and collection of taxes. Where a state gives this task to some subordinate body, due process must be complied with. The court did state that the circumstances of this case were not enough to comply with due process. Due process requires notice and the opportunity to be heard. A hearing, no matter how brief or informal, must be provided to present proof of the adverse position.