United States v. Burke, 504 U.S. 229, 2 (1992)

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Opinion of the Court

Blackmun, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and White, Stevens, and Kennedy, JJ., joined. Scalia, J., post, p. 242, and Souter, J., post, p. 246, filed opinions concurring in the judgment. O'Connor, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Thomas, J., joined, post, p. 248.

Jeffrey P. Minear argued the cause for the United States. On the briefs were Solicitor General Starr, Assistant Attorney General Peterson, Deputy Solicitor General Wallace, Kent L. Jones, Ann Belanger Durney, and Bruce R. Ellisen.

Joseph E. Finley argued the cause for respondents. With him on the brief was Lucinda M. Finley.*

Justice Blackmun delivered the opinion of the Court.

In this case we decide whether a payment received in settlement of a backpay claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 78 Stat. 253, as amended, 42 U. S. C. 2000e et seq., is excludable from the recipient's gross income under 104(a)(2) of the federal Internal Revenue Code, 26 U. S. C. 104(a)(2), as "damages received . . . on account of personal injuries."


The relevant facts are not in dispute. In 1984, Judy A. Hutcheson, an employee of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), filed a Title VII action in the United States District

*Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed for the American Association of Retired Persons by Steven S. Zaleznick, Cathy Ventrell-Monsees, Raymond C. Fay, and Thomas F. Joyce; for the American Civil Liberties Union et al. by C. Cabell Chinnis, Jr., Alison C. Wetherfield, Martha F. Davis, Steven R. Shapiro, Isabelle Katz Pinzler, Julius L. Chambers, and Charles Stephen Ralston; for the Equal Employment Advisory Council by Robert E. Williams and Douglas S. McDowell; for Equal Rights Advocates, Inc., by Stephen V. Bomse, Nancy L. Davis, and Maria Blanco; for Women Employed et al. by Michael B. Erp, Mary K. O'Melveny, and Stephen G. Seliger; for the National Employment Lawyers Association by Robert B. Fitzpatrick; and for the National Women's Law Center by Walter J. Rockler.

Raymond C. Fay, Alan M. Serwer, and Thomas F. Joyce filed a brief for the United Airlines Pilot Group as amicus curiae.

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