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Engquist v. Oregon Department of Agriculture

Docket No.: 07-474
Certiorari Granted: 1/11/2008
Argued: April 21, 2008
Decided: June 9, 2008


Administrative Procedure, Due Process, EPA, Equal Protection Clause, First Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Section 1983, Title VII, privacy, retaliation, suspect class

PartyNames: Anup Engquist v. Oregon Department of Agriculture, et al.
Petitioner: Anup Engquist
Respondent: Oregon Department of Agriculture, et al.

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Citation: 478 F3d 985
Supreme Court Docket

Anup Engquist
Oregon Department of Agriculture, et al.
553 U.S. 591 (2008)

The Ninth Circuit below vacated the jury's verdict in favor of Petitioner Engquist and created a divisive split with the seven Circuits that apply the "rational basis" analysis to public employees who claim their termination was a result of unequal treatment, even if that treatment did not result from the employee's membership in a suspect class. The first question presented is:

Consideration Limited:


Question Presented:

1. Whether traditional equal protection "rational basis" analysis under Village of Willowbrook v Olech, 528 US 562, 120 S Ct 1073, 145 L Ed 2d 1060 (2000) applies to public employers who intentionally treat similarly situated employees differently with no rational bases for arbitrary, vindictive or malicious reasons? The Ninth Circuit also upheld the validity of a state statute that took 60 percent of Engquist's punitive damage award for a public use, aligning the Ninth Circuit with the six state supreme courts that have held such statutes constitutional, and furthering the split with the two state supreme courts that have held such statutes violate the Takings Clause. The second question presented is:2. Whether a state "split recovery" punitive damages statute violates the Takings Clause of the United States Constitution?


Does the Court's ruling in Village of Willowbrook v. Olech, 528 U.S. 562 (2000), allow so-called "class of one" equal protection claims against government bodies in the context of employment discrimination?

Engquist v. Oregon Department of Agriculture

April 21, 2008

Vote: 6-3
Majority: Chief Justice Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Breyer, Alito
Dissenting: Stevens,Souter,Ginsburg
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