MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST delivered the opinion of the Court.
We granted certiorari, 421 U.S. 909 (1975), in this case to consider whether respondent's charge that petitioners' defamation of him, standing alone and apart from any other governmental action with respect to him, stated a claim for relief under 42 U. S. C. § 1983 and the Fourteenth Amendment. For the reasons hereinafter stated, we conclude that it does not.
Petitioner Paul is the Chief of Police of the Louisville, Ky., Division of Police, while petitioner McDaniel occupies the same position in the Jefferson County, Ky., Division of Police. In late 1972 they agreed to combine their efforts for the purpose of alerting local area merchants to possible shoplifters who might be operating during
The flyer consisted of five pages of "mug shot" photos, arranged alphabetically. Each page was headed:
"NOVEMBER 1972 CITY OF LOUISVILLE JEFFERSON COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENTS ACTIVE SHOPLIFTERS"
In approximately the center of page 2 there appeared photos and the name of the respondent, Edward Charles Davis III.
Respondent appeared on the flyer because on June 14, 1971, he had been arrested in Louisville on a charge of shoplifting. He had been arraigned on this charge in September 1971, and, upon his plea of not guilty, the
At the time the flyer was circulated respondent was employed as a photographer by the Louisville Courier-Journal and Times. The flyer, and respondent's inclusion therein, soon came to the attention of respondent's supervisor, the executive director of photography for the two newspapers. This individual called respondent in to hear his version of the events leading to his appearing in the flyer. Following this discussion, the supervisor informed respondent that although he would not be fired, he "had best not find himself in a similar situation" in the future.
Respondent thereupon brought this § 1983 action in the District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, seeking redress for the alleged violation of rights guaranteed to him by the Constitution of the United States. Claiming jurisdiction under 28 U. S. C. § 1343 (3), respondent sought damages as well as declaratory and injunctive relief. Petitioners moved to dismiss this complaint. The District Court granted this motion, ruling that "[t]he facts alleged in this case do not establish that plaintiff has been deprived of any right secured to him by the Constitution of the United States."
Respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit which recognized that, under our decisions, for respondent to establish a claim cognizable under § 1983 he had to show that petitioners had deprived
Respondent's due process claim is grounded upon his assertion that the flyer, and in particular the phrase "Active Shoplifters" appearing at the head of the page upon which his name and photograph appear, impermissibly deprived him of some "liberty" protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. His complaint asserted that the "active shoplifter" designation would inhibit him from entering business establishments for fear of being suspected of shoplifting and possibly apprehended, and would seriously impair his future employment opportunities. Accepting that such consequences may flow from the flyer in question, respondent's complaint would appear to state a classical claim for defamation actionable in the courts of virtually every State. Imputing criminal behavior to an individual is generally considered defamatory per se, and actionable without proof of special damages.
Respondent brought his action, however, not in the state courts of Kentucky, but in a United States District
In Greenwood v. Peacock, 384 U.S. 808 (1966), in the course of considering an important and not wholly dissimilar question of the relationship between the National and the State Governments, the Court said that "[i]t is worth contemplating what the result would be if the strained interpretation of § 1443 (1) urged by the individual petitioners were to prevail." Id., at 832. We, too, pause to consider the result should respondent's interpretation of § 1983 and of the Fourteenth Amendment be accepted.
If respondent's view is to prevail, a person arrested by law enforcement officers who announce that they believe such person to be responsible for a particular crime in order to calm the fears of an aroused populace, presumably obtains a claim against such officers under § 1983. And since it is surely far more clear from the language of the Fourteenth Amendment that "life" is protected against state deprivation than it is that reputation is protected against state injury, it would be difficult to see why the survivors of an innocent bystander mistakenly shot by a policeman or negligently killed by a sheriff driving a government vehicle, would not have claims equally cognizable under § 1983.
It is hard to perceive any logical stopping place to such
The result reached by the Court of Appeals, which respondent seeks to sustain here, must be bottomed on one of two premises. The first is that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and § 1983 make actionable many wrongs inflicted by government employees which had heretofore been thought to give rise only to state-law tort claims. The second premise is that the infliction by state officials of a "stigma" to one's reputation is somehow different in kind from the infliction by the same official of harm or injury to other interests protected by state law, so that an injury to reputation is actionable under § 1983 and the Fourteenth Amendment even if other such harms are not. We examine each of these premises in turn.
The first premise would be contrary to pronouncements in our cases on more than one occasion with respect to the scope of § 1983 and of the Fourteenth Amendment. In the leading case of Screws v. United States, 325 U.S. 91 (1945), the Court considered the proper application of the criminal counterpart of § 1983, likewise intended by Congress to enforce the guarantees of the Fourteenth
After recognizing that Congress' power to make criminal the conduct of state officials under the aegis of the Fourteenth Amendment was not unlimited because that Amendment "did not alter the basic relations between the States and the national government," the plurality opinion observed that Congress should not be understood to have attempted
This understanding of the limited effect of the Fourteenth Amendment was not lost in the Court's decision in Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167 (1961). There the Court was careful to point out that the complaint stated a cause of action under the Fourteenth Amendment because it alleged an unreasonable search and seizure violative of the guarantee "contained in the Fourth Amendment [and] made applicable to the States by reason of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment." Id., at 171. Respondent, however, has pointed to no specific constitutional guarantee safeguarding the interest he asserts has been invaded.
The second premise upon which the result reached by the Court of Appeals could be rested—that the infliction by state officials of a "stigma" to one's reputation is somehow different in kind from infliction by a state official of harm to other interests protected by state law—is equally untenable. The words "liberty" and "property" as used in the Fourteenth Amendment do not in terms single out reputation as a candidate for special protection over and above other interests that may be protected by state law. While we have in a number of our prior cases pointed out the frequently drastic effect of the "stigma" which may result from defamation by the government in a variety of contexts, this line of cases does not establish the proposition that reputation alone, apart from some more tangible interests such as employment, is either "liberty" or "property" by itself sufficient to invoke the procedural protection of the Due Process Clause. As we have said, the Court of Appeals, in reaching a contrary conclusion, relied primarily upon Wisconsin v. Constantineau, 400 U.S. 433 (1971). We think the correct import of that
In United States v. Lovett, 328 U.S. 303 (1946), the Court held that an Act of Congress which specifically forbade payment of any salary or compensation to three named Government agency employees was an unconstitutional bill of attainder. The three employees had been proscribed because a House of Representatives subcommittee found them guilty of "subversive activity," and therefore unfit for Government service. The Court, while recognizing that the underlying charges upon which Congress' action was premised "stigmatized [the employees'] reputation and seriously impaired their chance to earn a living," id., at 314, also made it clear that "[w]hat is involved here is a congressional proscription of [these employees], prohibiting their ever holding a government job." Ibid.
Subsequently, in Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Comm.
Mr. Justice Jackson, who likewise agreed that petitioners had stated a claim, commented:
He went on to say:
Mr. Justice Reed, writing for himself, The Chief Justice, and Mr. Justice Minton, would have held that petitioners failed to state a claim for relief. In his dissenting opinion, after having stated petitioners' claim that their listing resulted in a deprivation of liberty or property contrary to the procedure required by the Fifth Amendment, he said:
Thus at least six of the eight Justices who participated
In Wieman v. Updegraff, 344 U.S. 183 (1952), the Court again recognized the potential "badge of infamy" which might arise from being branded disloyal by the government. Id., at 191. But it did not hold this sufficient by itself to invoke the procedural due process guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment; indeed, the Court expressly refused to pass upon the procedural due process claims of petitioners in that case. Id., at 192. The Court noted that petitioners would, as a result of their failure to execute the state loyalty oath, lose their teaching positions at a state university. It held such state action to be arbitrary because of its failure to distinguish between innocent and knowing membership in the associations named in the list prepared by the Attorney General of the United States. Id., at 191. See also Peters v. Hobby, 349 U.S. 331, 347 (1955).
A decade after Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Comm. v. McGrath, supra, the Court returned to consider further the requirements of procedural due process in this area in the case of Cafeteria Workers v. McElroy, 367 U.S. 886 (1961). Holding that the discharge of an employee of a Government contractor in the circumstances there presented comported with the due process required by the Fifth Amendment, the Court observed:
Two things appear from the line of cases beginning with Lovett. The Court has recognized the serious damage that could be inflicted by branding a government employee as "disloyal," and thereby stigmatizing his good name. But the Court has never held that the mere defamation of an individual, whether by branding him disloyal or otherwise, was sufficient to invoke the guarantees of procedural due process absent an accompanying loss of government employment.
It was against this backdrop that the Court in 1971 decided Constantineau. There the Court held that a Wisconsin statute authorizing the practice of "posting" was unconstitutional because it failed to provide procedural safeguards of notice and an opportunity to be heard, prior to an individual's being "posted." Under the statute "posting" consisted of forbidding in writing the sale or delivery of alcoholic beverages to certain persons who were determined to have become hazards to themselves, to their family, or to the community by reason of their "excessive drinking." The statute also made it a misdemeanor to sell or give liquor to any person so posted. See 400 U. S., at 434 n. 2.
There is undoubtedly language in Constantineau, which is sufficiently ambiguous to justify the reliance upon it by the Court of Appeals:
The last paragraph of the quotation could be taken to mean that if a government official defames a person, without more, the procedural requirements of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment are brought into play. If read that way, it would represent a significant broadening of the holdings of Wieman v. Updegraff, 344 U.S. 183 (1952), and Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Comm. v. McGrath, 341 U.S. 123 (1951), relied upon by the Constantineau Court in its analysis in the immediately preceding paragraph. We should not read this language as significantly broadening those holdings without in any way adverting to the fact if there is any other possible interpretation of Constantineau's language. We believe there is.
We think that the italicized language in the last sentence quoted, "because of what the government is doing to him," referred to the fact that the governmental action taken in that case deprived the individual of a right previously held under state law—the right to purchase or obtain liquor in common with the rest of the citizenry. "Posting," therefore, significantly altered her status as a matter of state law, and it was that alteration of legal status which, combined with the injury resulting
This conclusion is reinforced by our discussion of the subject a little over a year later in Board of Regents v. Roth, 408 U.S. 564 (1972). There we noted that "the range of interests protected by procedural due process is not infinite," id., at 570, and that with respect to property interests they are
While Roth recognized that governmental action defaming an individual in the course of declining to rehire him could entitle the person to notice and an opportunity to be heard as to the defamation, its language is quite inconsistent with any notion that a defamation perpetrated by a government official but unconnected with any refusal to rehire would be actionable under the Fourteenth Amendment:
Thus it was not thought sufficient to establish a claim under § 1983 and the Fourteenth Amendment that there simply be defamation by a state official; the defamation had to occur in the course of the termination of employment. Certainly there is no suggestion in Roth to indicate that a hearing would be required each time the State in its capacity as employer might be considered responsible for a statement defaming an employee who continues to be an employee.
This conclusion is quite consistent with our most recent holding in this area, Goss v. Lopez, 419 U.S. 565 (1975), that suspension from school based upon charges of misconduct could trigger the procedural guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment. While the Court noted that charges of misconduct could seriously damage the student's reputation, id., at 574-575, it also took care to point out that Ohio law conferred a right upon all children to attend school, and that the act of the school officials suspending the student there involved resulted in a denial or deprivation of that right.
It is apparent from our decisions that there exists a variety of interests which are difficult of definition but are nevertheless comprehended within the meaning of either "liberty" or "property" as meant in the Due Process Clause. These interests attain this constitutional status by virtue of the fact that they have been initially recognized and protected by state law,
In each of these cases, as a result of the state action complained of, a right or status previously recognized by state law was distinctly altered or extinguished. It was this alteration, officially removing the interest from the recognition and protection previously afforded by the State, which we found sufficient to invoke the procedural guarantees contained in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. But the interest in reputation alone which respondent seeks to vindicate in this action in federal court is quite different from the "liberty" or "property" recognized in those decisions. Kentucky law does not extend to respondent any legal guarantee of present enjoyment of reputation which has been altered as a
Respondent in this case cannot assert denial of any right vouchsafed to him by the State and thereby protected under the Fourteenth Amendment. That being the case, petitioners' defamatory publications, however seriously they may have harmed respondent's reputation, did not deprive him of any "liberty" or "property" interests protected by the Due Process Clause.
Respondent's complaint also alleged a violation of a "right to privacy guaranteed by the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments." The Court of Appeals did not pass upon this claim since it found the allegations of a due process violation sufficient to require reversal of the District Court's order. As we have agreed with the District Court on the due process issue, we find it necessary to pass upon respondent's other theory in order to determine whether there is any support for the litigation he seeks to pursue.
While there is no "right of privacy" found in any specific guarantee of the Constitution, the Court has recognized that "zones of privacy" may be created by
Respondent's claim is far afield from this line of decisions. He claims constitutional protection against the disclosure of the fact of his arrest on a shoplifting charge. His claim is based, not upon any challenge to the State's ability to restrict his freedom of action in a sphere contended to be "private," but instead on a claim that the State may not publicize a record of an official act such as an arrest. None of our substantive privacy decisions hold this or anything like this, and we decline to enlarge them in this manner.
None of respondent's theories of recovery were based upon rights secured to him by the Fourteenth Amendment.
MR. JUSTICE STEVENS took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN, with whom MR. JUSTICE MARSHALL concurs and MR. JUSTICE WHITE concurs in part, dissenting.
I dissent. The Court today holds that police officials, acting in their official capacities as law enforcers, may on their own initiative and without trial constitutionally condemn innocent individuals as criminals and thereby brand them with one of the most stigmatizing and debilitating labels in our society. If there are no constitutional restraints on such oppressive behavior, the safeguards constitutionally accorded an accused in a criminal trial are rendered a sham, and no individual can feel secure that he will not be arbitrarily singled out for similar ex parte punishment by those primarily charged with fair enforcement of the law. The Court accomplishes this result by excluding a person's interest in his good name and reputation from all constitutional protection, regardless of the character of or necessity for the government's actions. The result, which is demonstrably inconsistent with out prior case law and unduly restrictive in its construction of our precious Bill of Rights, is one in which I cannot concur.
To clarify what is at issue in this case, it is first necessary to dispel some misconceptions apparent in the Court's opinion. Title 42 U. S. C. § 1983 provides:
Thus, as the Court indicates, ante, at 696-697, respondent's complaint, to be cognizable under § 1983, must allege both a deprivation of a constitutional right
Equally irrelevant is the Court's statement that "[c]oncededly if the same allegations had been made about respondent by a private individual, he would have nothing more than a claim for defamation under state law." Ante, at 698. The action complained of here is "state
It may be that I misunderstand the thrust of Part I of the Court's opinion. Perhaps the Court is not questioning the involvement of a constitutional "liberty" or "property" interest in this case, but rather whether the deprivation of those interests was accomplished "under color of" state law. The Court's expressed concern that but for today's decision, negligent tortious behavior by state officials might constitute a § 1983 violation, see ante, at 698, suggests this reading.
The stark fact is that the police here have officially imposed on respondent the stigmatizing label "criminal" without the salutary and constitutionally mandated safeguards of a criminal trial. The Court concedes that this action will have deleterious consequences for respondent. For 15 years, the police had prepared and circulated similar lists, not with respect to shoplifting alone, but also for other offenses. App. 19, 27-28. Included in the five-page list in which respondent's name and "mug shot" appeared were numerous individuals who, like respondent, were never convicted of any criminal activity and whose only "offense" was having once been arrested.
Although accepting the truth of the allegation, as we must on the motion to dismiss, see, e. g., Walker Process Equipment, Inc. v. Food Machinery & Chemical Corp., 382 U.S. 172, 174-175 (1965); cf. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957), that dissemination of this flyer would "seriously impair [respondent's] future employment opportunities" and "inhibit him from entering business establishments for fear of being suspected of shoplifting and possibly apprehended," ante, at 697, the Court characterizes the allegation as "mere defamation" involving no infringement of constitutionally protected interests. E. g., ante, at 706. This is because, the Court holds, neither a "liberty" nor a "property" interest was invaded by the injury done respondent's reputation and therefore no violation of § 1983 or the Fourteenth Amendment was alleged. I wholly disagree.
It is important, to paraphrase the Court, that "[w]e, too, [should] pause to consider the result should [the Court's] interpretation of § 1983 and of the Fourteenth Amendment be accepted." Ante, at 698. There is no attempt by the Court to analyze the question as one of reconciliation of constitutionally protected personal rights and the exigencies of law enforcement. No effort is made to distinguish the "defamation" that occurs when a grand jury indicts an accused from the "defamation" that occurs when executive officials arbitrarily and without
See also, e. g., Greene v. McElroy, 360 U.S. 474, 496 (1959); Cafeteria Workers v. McElroy, 367 U.S. 886, 899-902 (1961) (BRENNAN, J., dissenting); Goss v. Lopez, 419 U.S. 565, 574-575 (1975). In the criminal justice system, this interest is given concrete protection through the presumption of innocence and the prohibition of state-imposed punishment unless the State can demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt, at a public trial with the attendant constitutional safeguards, that a particular individual has engaged in proscribed criminal conduct. "[B]ecause of the certainty that [one found guilty of criminal behavior] would be stigmatized by the conviction . . . a society that values the good name and freedom of every individual should not condemn a man for commission of a crime when there is reasonable doubt about his guilt." In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358, 363-364 (1970). "It is also important in our free society that every individual going about his ordinary affairs have confidence that his government cannot adjudge him guilty of a criminal offense without convincing
Today's decision marks a clear retreat from Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411 (1969), a case closely akin to the factual pattern of the instant case, and yet essentially ignored by the Court. Jenkins, which was also an action brought under § 1983, both recognized that the public branding of an individual implicates interests cognizable as either "liberty" or "property," and held that such public condemnation cannot be accomplished without procedural safeguards designed to eliminate arbitrary or capricious executive action. Jenkins involved the constitutionality of the Louisiana Labor-Management Commission of Inquiry, an executive agency whose "very purpose . . . is to find persons guilty of violating criminal laws without trial or procedural safeguards, and to publicize those findings." 395 U. S., at 424.
Significantly, we noted that one defect in the Commission was that it "exercises a function very much akin to making an official adjudication of criminal culpability," and that it was "concerned only with exposing violations of criminal laws by specific individuals." Id., at 427. "[I]t is empowered to be used and allegedly is used to find named individuals guilty of violating the criminal laws of Louisiana and the United States and to brand them as criminals in public." Id., at 428. See also ibid., quoting Hannah v. Larche, 363 U.S. 420, 488 (1960) (Frankfurter, J., concurring in result). Although three Justices in dissent would have dismissed the complaint for lack of standing, since there were no allegations that the appellant would be investigated, called as a witness, or named in the Commission's findings, 395 U. S., at 436 (Harlan, J., dissenting), they nevertheless observed, id., at 438:
See also id., at 442. Thus, although the Court was divided on the particular procedural safeguards that would be necessary in particular circumstances, the common point of agreement, and the one that the Court today inexplicably rejects, was that the official characterization of an individual as a criminal affects a constitutional "liberty" interest.
The Court, however, relegates its discussion of Jenkins to a dissembling footnote. First, the Court ignores the fact that the Court in Jenkins clearly recognized a constitutional "liberty" or "property" interest in reputation sufficient to invoke the strictures of the Fourteenth Amendment.
In short, it is difficult to fathom what renders respondent's interest in his reputation somehow different from the personal interest affected by " `an agency whose sole or predominant function, without serving any other public interest, is to expose and publicize the names of persons it finds guilty of wrongdoing.' " Ante, at 706 n. 4, quoting 395 U. S., at 438. Surely the difference cannot be found in the fact that police officials rather than a statutory "agency" engaged in the stigmatizing conduct, for both situations involve the requisite action "under color of" law. Ante, at 697 n. 2. Nor can the difference be found in the argument that petitioners' actions were "serving any other public interest," for that consideration only affects the outcome of the due process balance in a particular case, not whether there is a personal "liberty" interest to be weighed against the government interests supposedly justifying the State's official actions. It is remarkable that the Court, which is so determined to parse the language of other cases, see generally ante, Part II, can be thus oblivious to the fact that every Member of the Court so recently felt that the intentional, public exposure of alleged wrongdoing—like the branding of an individual as an "active shoplifter"—implicates a constitutionally protected "liberty" or "property" interest and requires analysis as to whether procedures adequate to satisfy due process were accorded the accused by the State.
Moreover, Wisconsin v. Constantineau, 400 U.S. 433 (1971), which was relied on by the Court of Appeals in this case, did not rely at all on the fact asserted by the
I have always thought that one of this Court's most important roles is to provide a formidable bulwark against governmental violation of the constitutional safeguards
"It does not adjudicate. It does not hold trials or determine anyone's civil or criminal liability. It does not issue orders. Nor does it indict, punish, or impose any legal sanctions. It does not make determinations depriving anyone of his life, liberty, or property. In short, the Commission does not and cannot take any affirmative action which will affect an individual's legal rights. The only purpose of its existence is to find facts which may subsequently be used as the basis for legislative or executive action." Id., at 441 (emphasis supplied).
Addressing itself to the question of whether the Commission's "proceedings might irreparably harm those being investigated by subjecting them to public opprobrium and scorn, the distinct likelihood of losing their jobs, and the possibility of criminal prosecutions," the Court said that "even if such collateral consequences were to flow from the Commission's investigations, they would not be the result of any affirmative determinations made by the Commission, and they would not affect the legitimacy of the Commission's investigative function." Id., at 443.
Our discussion in Part III is limited to consideration of the procedural guarantees of the Due Process Clause and is not intended to describe those substantive limitations upon state action which may be encompassed within the concept of "liberty" expressed in the Fourteenth Amendment. Cf. Part IV, infra.
"Q. And you didn't limit this to persons who had been convicted of the offense of shoplifting, is that correct?
"A. That's correct.
"Q. Now, my question is what is the basis for your conclusion that a person—a person who has been arrested for the offense of shoplifting is an active shoplifter?
"A. The very fact that he's been arrested for the charge of shoplifting and evidence presented to that effect.
"Q. And this is not based on any finding of the court?
"A. No, sir." App. 26.
"Q. All right. So that if my understanding is correct, this included all persons who were arrested in '71 and '72?
"A. That's true.
"Q. And selected persons from—who were arrested in previous years?
"A. . . . I assume from the number of persons here that many of these have been arrested many years back down the line consecutively . . . .
"Q. So there's no distinction made between persons whose arrest terminated in convictions and persons whose arrest did not terminate in convictions?
"A. No, sir." Id., at 29.
"The mere fact that a man has been arrested has very little, if any, probative value in showing that he has engaged in any misconduct. An arrest shows nothing more than that someone probably suspected the person apprehended of an offense. When formal charges are not filed against the arrested person and he is released without trial, whatever probative force the arrest may have had is normally dissipated." Schware v. Board of Bar Examiners, 353 U.S. 232, 241 (1957). The constitutional presumption of innocence, the requirement that conviction for a crime must be based on proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and the other safeguards of a criminal trial are obviously designed at least in part to give concrete meaning to this fact.
" `While this Court has not attempted to define with exactness the liberty . . . guaranteed [by the Fourteenth Amendment], the term has received much consideration and some of the included things have been definitely stated. Without doubt, it denotes not merely freedom from bodily restraint but also the right of the individual to contract, to engage in any of the common occupations of life, to acquire useful knowledge, to marry, establish a home and bring up children, to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and generally to enjoy those privileges long recognized . . . as essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.' Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 399." Board of Regents v. Roth, supra, at 572.
See also e. g., Arnett v. Kennedy, 416 U.S. 134, 157 (1974) (opinion of REHNQUIST, J.). It should thus be clear that much of the content of "liberty" has no tie whatsoever to particular provisions of the Bill of Rights, and the Court today gives no explanation for its narrowing of that content.
"The Commission thus bears close resemblance to certain federal administrative agencies . . . . These agencies have one salient feature in common, which distinguishes them from those designed simply to `expose.' None of them is the final arbiter of anyone's guilt or innocence. Each, rather, plays only a preliminary role, designed, in the usual course of events, to initiate a subsequent formal proceeding in which the accused will enjoy the full panoply of procedural safeguards. For this reason, and because such agencies could not otherwise practicably pursue their investigative functions, they have not been required to follow `adjudicatory' procedures." 395 U. S., at 439.
"Although in this respect the Commission is not different from the federal agencies discussed above, I am not ready to say that the collateral consequences of government-sanctioned opprobrium may not under some circumstances entitle a person to some right, consistent with the Commission's efficient performance of its investigatory duties, to have his public say in rebuttal. However, the Commission's procedures are far from being niggardly in this respect. . . .
". . . It may be that some of my Brethren understand the complaint to allege that in fact the Commission acts primarily as an agency of `exposure,' rather than one which serves the ends required by the state statutes. If so—although I do not believe that the complaint can be reasonably thus construed—the area of disagreement between us may be small or nonexistent." Id., at 442.
"The Due Process Clause also forbids arbitrary deprivations of liberty. `Where a person's good name, reputation, honor, or integrity is at stake because of what the government is doing to him,' the minimal requirements of the Clause must be satisfied. Wisconsin v. Constantineau, 400 U.S. 433, 437 (1971); Board of Regents v. Roth, supra, at 573. School authorities here suspended appellees from school for periods of up to 10 days based on charges of misconduct. If sustained and recorded, those charges could seriously damage the students' standing with their fellow pupils and their teachers as well as interfere with later opportunities for higher education and employment. It is apparent that the claimed right of the State to determine unilaterally and without process whether that misconduct has occurred immediately collides with the requirements of the Constitution."
The Court states that today's holding is "quite consistent" with Goss because "Ohio law conferred a right upon all children to attend school, and . . . the act of the school officials suspending the student there involved resulted in a denial or deprivation of that right." Ante, at 710. However, that was only one-half of the holding in Goss. The Ohio law established a property interest of which the Court held a student would not be deprived without being accorded due process. 419 U. S., at 573-574. However, the Court also specifically recognized that there was an independent liberty interest implicated in the case, not dependent upon the statutory right to attend school, but based, as noted above, on the fact that suspension for certain conduct could affect a student's "good name, reputation, honor, or integrity." Id., at 574-575.
Similarly, the idea that the language in Board of Regents v. Roth, supra, is "quite inconsistent with any notion that a defamation perpetrated by a government official but unconnected with any refusal to rehire would be actionable," ante, at 709, borders on the absurd. The Court in Roth, like the Court in Goss, explicitly quoted the language from Constantineau that the Court today denigrates, ante, at 707-709, and it was clear that Roth was focusing on stigmatization as such. We said there that when due process safeguards are required in such situations, the "purpose of such notice and hearing is to provide the person an opportunity to clear his name," 408 U. S., at 573 n. 12 (emphasis supplied), and only found no requirement for due process safeguards because "[i]n the present case . . . there is no suggestion whatever that the respondent's `good name, reputation, honor, or integrity' is at stake." Id., at 573. See also Arnett v. Kennedy, 416 U. S., at 157 (opinion of REHNQUIST, J.) ("[L]iberty is not offended by dismissal from employment itself, but instead by dismissal based upon an unsupported charge which could wrongfully injure the reputation of an employee . . . . [T]he purpose of the hearing in such a case is to provide the person `an opportunity to clear his name' . . ."). The fact that a stigma is imposed by the government in terminating the employment of a government employee may make the existence of state action unquestionable, but it surely does not detract from the fact that the operative "liberty" concept relates to the official stigmatization of the individual, whether imposed by the government in its status as an employer or otherwise.
"This label [`active shoplifter'] carries with it the badge of disgrace of a criminal conviction. Moreover, it is a direct statement by law enforcement officials that the persons included in the flyer are presently pursuing an active course of criminal conduct. All of this was done without the slightest regard for due process. There was no notice nor opportunity to be heard prior to the distribution of the flyer, and appellant and others have never been accorded the opportunity to refute the charges in a criminal proceeding. It goes without saying that the Police Chiefs cannot determine the guilt or innocence of an accused in an administrative proceeding. Such a determination can be made only in a court of law.
"The harm is all the more apparent because the branding has been done by law enforcement officials with the full power, prestige and authority of their positions. There can be little doubt that a person's standing and associations in the community have been damaged seriously when law enforcement officials brand him an active shoplifter, accuse him of a continuing course of criminal conduct, group him with criminals and distribute his name and photograph to the merchants and businessmen of the community. Such acts are a direct and devastating attack on the good name, reputation, honor and integrity of the person involved. The fact of an arrest without more may impair or cloud a person's reputation. Michelson v. United States, 335 U.S. 469, 482 . . . (1948). Such acts on the part of law enforcement officials may result in direct economic loss and restricted opportunities for schooling, employment and professional licenses. Menard v. Mitchell, 139 U. S. App. D. C. 113, 430 F.2d 486, 490 (1970)." 505 F.2d 1180, 1183 (1974).
MR. JUSTICE WHITE does not concur in this footnote.