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Nixon v. Fitzgerald

Significance, The Lower Court Decisions, The Court's Decision, The President Above The Law?


President Richard M. Nixon


Ernest Fitzgerald

Petitioner's Claim

That a president should not be held liable for civil damages resulting from the termination of a Pentagon employee.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Herbert J. Miller, Jr.

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

John E. Nolan, Jr.

Justices for the Court

Warren E. Burger, Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O'Connor, Lewis F. Powell, Jr. (writing for the Court), William H. Rehnquist, John Paul Stevens

Justices Dissenting

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Byron R. White


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

24 June 1982


That a president possesses absolute immunity from civil lawsuits for actions taken in the course of his official duties.

Related Cases

  • United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974).
  • Butz v. Economou, 438 U.S. 478 (1978).
  • Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800 (1982).
  • Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681 (1997).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988