Antoine v. Byers & Anderson, Inc., 508 U.S. 429, 4 (1993)

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Opinion of the Court

nity is "justified and defined by the functions it protects and serves," Forrester v. White, 484 U. S. 219, 227 (1988) (emphasis omitted), and that "the tasks performed by a court reporter in furtherance of her statutory duties are functionally part and parcel of the judicial process," the Court of Appeals held that actions within the scope of a reporter's authority are absolutely immune. 950 F. 2d, at 1475-1476.

Some Circuits have held that court reporters are protected only by qualified immunity.3 We granted certiorari to resolve this conflict. 506 U. S. 914 (1992).


The proponent of a claim to absolute immunity bears the burden of establishing the justification for such immunity.4 In determining which officials perform functions that might justify a full exemption from liability, "we have undertaken 'a considered inquiry into the immunity historically accorded the relevant official at common law and the interests behind it.' " Butz v. Economou, 438 U. S. 478, 508 (1978) (quoting

nity defense on which the Court of Appeals based its decision, see Pet. for Cert. i, we have no occasion to comment on the validity of petitioner's underlying cause of action.

3 See McLallen v. Henderson, 492 F. 2d 1298, 1299-1300 (CA8 1974); Slavin v. Curry, 574 F. 2d 1256, 1265-1266 (CA5 1978); Green v. Maraio, 722 F. 2d 1013, 1018 (CA2 1983). The Seventh Circuit, like the Ninth, provides absolute immunity for court reporters. Scruggs v. Moellering, 870 F. 2d 376, 377, cert. denied, 493 U. S. 956 (1989).

4 We have consistently "emphasized that the official seeking absolute immunity bears the burden of showing that such immunity is justified for the function in question. The presumption is that qualified rather than absolute immunity is sufficient to protect government officials in the exercise of their duties. We have been quite sparing in our recognition of absolute immunity, and have refused to extend it any further than its justification would warrant." Burns v. Reed, 500 U. S. 478, 486-487 (1991) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

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