Nixon v. Fitzgerald
457 U.S. 731 (1982)
- Fitzgerald, who worked for the Air Force, testified before a Congress about inefficiencies and cost overruns in the production of the C-5A transport plane.
- One year later, Fitzgerald was fired.
- President Nixon took personal responsibility for firing Fitzgerald.
- Fitzgerald then sued Nixon for damages after the Civil Service Commission concluded that his dismissal was unjust. (He claimed he was a whistleblower).
- The US Supreme Court held that the President is entitled to absolute immunity from damages liability for his official acts.
- The Court found that this sweeping immunity was a function of the “President’s unique office, rooted in the constitutional tradition of separation of powers and supported by our history.”
- In the companion case, Harlow v. Fitzgerald (457 U.S. 800 (1982)), it was held that this Presidential immunity did not extend to the President’s aides.