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Clinton v. Jones


The Court's decision reemphasizes that although the president may not be sued for acts relating to his official duties, the president is subject to the same laws regulating purely private conduct to which the general population is subject.

Bill Clinton was elected president of the United States in 1992, and was re-elected in 1996. In May of 1994, Paula Corbin Jones, a former employee of the state of Arkansas, filed a civil lawsuit against Clinton in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Jones claimed that in 1991, while Clinton was still governor of Arkansas, Clinton made unwanted sexual advances toward her and that when she rejected these advances, she was retaliated against by her superiors at work. Clinton immediately filed a motion in the district court seeking to dismiss the lawsuit on the basis of presidential immunity. The dismissal would allow Jones to refile the lawsuit after President Clinton left office. The district court denied the motion to dismiss, but ruled that any trial should be postponed until after Clinton's presidency. Both parties appealed the decision of the district court to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The court of appeals agreed with the district court that Clinton did not have immunity from the lawsuit, but disagreed that the trial should be postponed until after Clinton's term was over. President Clinton then appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1995 to PresentClinton v. Jones - Significance, Court Rejects Immunity Claim, Should Civil Suits Against The President Be Stalled Until He Is Out Of Office?