LOCATION: Residence of Fitzgerald
DOCKET NO.: 79-1738
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
CITATION: 457 US 731 (1982)
ARGUED: Nov 30, 1981
DECIDED: Jun 24, 1982
Elliot L. Richardson - on behalf of the Petitioners Harlow and Butterfield
Herbert J. Miller, Jr. - Argued the cause for the petitioner
John E. Nolan, Jr. - Argued the cause for the respondent
Facts of the case
In 1968, Fitzgerald, then a civilian analyst with the United States Air Force, testified before a congressional committee about inefficiencies and cost overruns in the production of the C-5A transport plane. Roughly one year later he was fired, an action for which President Nixon took responsibility. Fitzgerald then sued Nixon for damages after the Civil Service Commission concluded that his dismissal was unjust.
Was the President immune from prosecution in a civil suit?