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Crawford-El v. Britton

Significance, Other Opinions, Impact, Inmate Conditions


Leonard Rollon Crawford-El


Patricia Britton

Petitioner's Claim

That the district court's direct evidence rule and the appeals court's "clear and convincing evidence" standard for persons seeking to sue government officials should be rejected.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Daniel M. Schember

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

John M. Ferren

Justices for the Court

Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony M. Kennedy, David H. Souter, John Paul Stevens (writing for the Court)

Justices Dissenting

Sandra Day O'Connor, William H. Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

4 May 1998


The Court rejected the court of appeals' "unprecedented" introduction of a new standard that plaintiffs must meet in order to bring suit against government officials, on the grounds that the change undermines the law providing remedies for violations of federal rights.

Related Cases

  • Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167 (1961).
  • Nixon v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 731 (1982).
  • Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800 (1982).


Austin, James and John Irwin. It's About Time: America's Imprisonment Binge. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1994.

Further Readings

  • Biskupic, Joan, and Elder Witt, eds. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1996.

Additional topics

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