Connecticut Dept. of Public Safety v. Doe, 538 U.S. 1, 6 (2003)

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6

CONNECTICUT DEPT. OF PUBLIC SAFETY v. DOE

Opinion of the Court

an's Law. He filed this action pursuant to Rev. Stat. 1979, 42 U. S. C. 1983, on behalf of himself and similarly situated sex offenders, claiming that the law violates, inter alia, the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Specifically, respondent alleged that he is not a " 'dangerous sexual offender,' " and that the Connecticut law "deprives him of a liberty interest—his reputation combined with the alteration of his status under state law—without notice or a meaningful opportunity to be heard." 271 F. 3d, at 45-46. The District Court granted summary judgment for respondent on his due process claim. 132 F. Supp. 2d 57 (Conn. 2001). The court then certified a class of individuals subject to the Connecticut law, and permanently enjoined the law's public disclosure provisions.

The Court of Appeals affirmed, 271 F. 3d 38 (CA2 2001), holding that the Due Process Clause entitles class members to a hearing "to determine whether or not they are particularly likely to be currently dangerous before being labeled as such by their inclusion in a publicly disseminated registry." Id., at 62. Because Connecticut had not provided such a hearing, the Court of Appeals enjoined petitioners from " 'disclosing or disseminating to the public, either in printed or electronic form (a) the Registry or (b) Registry information concerning [class members]' " and from " 'identifying [them] as being included in the Registry.' " Ibid. The Court of Appeals reasoned that the Connecticut law implicated a "liberty interest" because of: (1) the law's stigmatization of respondent by "implying" that he is "currently dangerous," and (2) its imposition of "extensive and onerous" registration obligations on respondent. Id., at 57. From this liberty interest arose an obligation, in the Court of Appeals' view, to give respondent an opportunity to demonstrate that he was not "likely to be currently dangerous." Id., at 62. We granted certiorari, 535 U. S. 1077 (2002).

In Paul v. Davis, 424 U. S. 693 (1976), we held that mere injury to reputation, even if defamatory, does not constitute

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