Antoine v. Byers & Anderson, Inc., 508 U.S. 429, 6 (1993)

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Opinion of the Court

Faced with the absence of a common-law tradition involving court reporters themselves, respondents urge us to treat as their historical counterparts common-law judges who made handwritten notes during trials. We find the analogy unpersuasive. The function performed by judicial note-takers at common law is significantly different from that performed by court reporters today. Whereas court reporters are charged by statute with producing a "verbatim" transcript of each session of the court, for inclusion in the official record, 28 U. S. C. 753(b), common-law judges exercise discretion and judgment in deciding exactly what, and how much, they will write. Early judicial notetakers, for instance, left records from which the "narrative of the trial cannot be reconstructed"; their notes were for their own purposes in charging the jury and were never entered into the public record. Langbein, Shaping the Eighteenth-Century Criminal Trial: A View from the Ryder Sources, 50 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1, 5-6 (1983).9

tion from a road tax is not in fact exempt, or that one arrested is in default for not having worked out the assessment; to members of a township board in deciding upon the allowance of claims; to arbitrators, and to the collector of customs in exercising his authority to sell perishable property, and in fixing upon the time for notice of sale.' Id., at 410-411 (footnotes omitted).

"As is evident from the foregoing catalog, judicial immunity extended not only to public officials but also to private citizens (in particular jurors and arbitrators); the touchstone for its applicability was performance of the function of resolving disputes between parties, or of authoritatively adjudicating private rights." Burns v. Reed, 500 U. S., at 499-500 (Scalia, J., concurring in judgment in part and dissenting in part).

9 Indeed, the doctrine of judicial immunity was recognized in part to avoid imposing on judges the obligation to make complete trial transcripts.

"If upon such allegations a judge could be compelled to answer in a civil action for his judicial acts, not only would his office be degraded and his usefulness destroyed, but he would be subjected for his protection to the necessity of preserving a complete record of all the evidence produced before him in every litigated case, and of the authorities cited and arguments presented, in order that he might be able to show to the judge before whom he might be summoned by the losing party . . . that he had

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