The plaintiff, a probationary employee of the federal government, was discharged. A personnel officer suggested that the basis for the discharge may have included reports about her previous employment with another agency. If this were true, then the plaintiff would have been entitled to procedural protections that were not provided. The plaintiff sued the federal government (defendant), seeking an injunction preventing her discharge until completion of an administrative appeal to the Civil Service Commission. The trial court entered a temporary restraining order and held a hearing on the issues. The trial court determined that W.H. Sanders, the official who fired the plaintiff, should testify. The federal government refused to produce Sanders because it denied that the trial court had jurisdiction to inquire into the facts. The trial court extended the temporary restraining order until Sanders was produced. The government appealed the order to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which affirmed the order. The government petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review.