In the case of Clinton v. Jones (520 U.S. 681 (1997)), President Clinton claimed that, as a sitting President, he could not be sued for civil litigation unrelated to his office. However, the Supreme Court found that a sitting President has no immunity from civil law litigation against him, for facts unrelated to his office (having occurred before he took office).
- The Court ruled that separation of powers does not mandate that Federal Courts delay all private civil lawsuits against the President until the end of his term of office.
- In his concurring opinion, it was argued that presidential immunity would only apply if the President could show that a private civil lawsuit would somehow interfere with the President’s constitutionally-assigned duties.
- “It appears to us highly unlikely to occupy any substantial amount of petitioner’s time.”
- Considering the result of the suit, it can probably be argued by future Presidents that this sort of civil litigation will interfere with their duties.