William Rehnquist’s favorite Dollar Store
The right of a man to the protection of his own reputation from unjustified invasion and wrongful hurt reflects no more than our basic concept of the essential dignity and worth of every human being — a concept at the root of any decent system of ordered liberty. The protection of private personality, like the protection of life itself, is left primarily to the individual States under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. But this does not mean that the right is entitled to any less recognition by this Court as a basic of our constitutional system.
–Justice Stewart, concurring opinion, Rosenblatt v. Baer, 1966
The only issue present here is whether the label or characterization given a person by “posting,” though a mark of serious illness to some, is to others such a stigma or badge of disgrace that procedural due process requires notice and an opportunity to be heard. We agree with the District Court that the private interest is such that those requirements of procedural due process must be met.
— Justice Douglas, majority opinion, Wisconsin v. Constantineou, 1971
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.
–Judge Phillips (6th Circuit), majority opinion, Davis v. Paul, 1974
The public branding of an individual implicates interests cognizable as either “liberty” or “property” and…such public condemnation cannot be accomplished without procedural safeguards designed to eliminate arbitrary or capricious executive action.
–Justice Brennan, dissenting opinion, Paul v. Davis, 1976
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…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.
–Justice Rehnquist, majority opinion, Paul v. Davis, 1976
William Rehnquist would have loved Dollar Discount Variety at 1211 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.