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There is no absolute right of confrontation in civil cases. See Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 402, 407, 28 L. Ed. 2d 842, 91 S. Ct. 1420 (1971). In particular cases, live testimony and cross-examination might be so important as to be required by due process, although the principal case so holding-- Goldberg v. Kelly, 397 U.S. 254, 268, 25 L. Ed. 2d 287, 90 S. Ct. 1011 (1970)--may not have much life left after Mathews v. Eldridge, supra, 424 U.S. at 334-35; cf. Cholewin v. City of Evanston, 899 F.2d 687, 689-90 (7th Cir. 1990).


Goldberg granted a right of confrontation to persons denied welfare benefits; Mathews withdrew it for persons denied disability benefits. The basis for distinction was the hardship to persons taken off welfare, and of course it has no counterpart here. Moreover, the ordinance empowers the hearing officer to subpoena witnesses. That provides an adequate safety valve for those cases, if any (there may be none), in which fair consideration of the respondent's defense would require, as a constitutional imperative, the recognition of a right of confrontation. 

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