Davis v. Scherer

PETITIONER: Davis
RESPONDENT: Scherer
LOCATION: Shopping District

DOCKET NO.: 83-490
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

CITATION: 468 US 183 (1984)
ARGUED: Apr 16, 1984
DECIDED: Jun 28, 1984

ADVOCATES:
Bruce S. Rogow - on behalf of the Appellee
Mitchell D. Franks - on behalf of the Appellants
Richard G. Wilkins - as amicus curiae

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Davis v. Scherer

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 16, 1984 in Davis v. Scherer

Warren E. Burger:

Mr. Franks, I think you may proceed when you are ready.

Mitchell D. Franks:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

This 1983 due process case arose out of the firing of an employee of the Florida Highway Patrol in 1977.

Although the district court ultimately held that the law regarding pre-termination due process was not clearly established at the time of the firing, it nevertheless continued on and ruled that the Florida statute, Chapter 110, was unconstitutional in that it violated post-termination due process.

It also continued on and found that the employee was entitled to damages under 1983 not for any violation of clearly established constitutional law, but because the defendants did not follow a departmental regulation recently enacted in terminating this employee.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

Mr. Franks, would you help us interpret what the holding of the district court is now?

Mitchell D. Franks:

There are--

Sandra Day O'Connor:

It... it seems to have held... the second district court opinion seemed to hold a new statute unconstitutional; and you agree that that much of the holding is in error, and I guess the other side does, too.

Mitchell D. Franks:

--Yes, Justice O'Connor.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

Was anything left of its original finding that the older statute was unconstitutional because of the failure to provide a prompt post-termination hearing?

Mitchell D. Franks:

No, Justice O'Connor.

The older statute was enacted previously, was in 1977, general law, and by the amendment in 1981 that statute was vitiated and is no longer part of this case.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

Well, and you think there was nothing left of the original district court holding in that regard?

Mitchell D. Franks:

That's correct, Justice O'Connor.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

And so all we have is the holding on the new statute--

Mitchell D. Franks:

That is--

Sandra Day O'Connor:

--And... and a finding that the employers failed to follow their own regulation requiring a speedy investigation, is that right?

Mitchell D. Franks:

--I... I don't know that I would call it a speedy investigation.

I believe the word is thorough investigation.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

All right.

Mitchell D. Franks:

On complete investigation.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

Yeah.

Mitchell D. Franks:

In fact, yes, that's correct.

There... there is nothing left of the... of the original July 15, 1981 decision of the district court.

William H. Rehnquist:

Your... your... your opponent agrees, does he not--

Mitchell D. Franks:

Yes, sir.

William H. Rehnquist:

--That that part of the judgment which declared the 1981 statute unconstitutional should be vacated.

Mitchell D. Franks:

Yes, sir.

They have conceded that.

And--