Antoine v. Byers & Anderson, Inc., 508 U.S. 429, 8 (1993)

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  Next

436

ANTOINE v. BYERS & ANDERSON, INC.

Opinion of the Court

ing disputes between parties, or of authoritatively adjudicating private rights." 500 U. S., at 500 (Scalia, J., concurring in judgment in part and dissenting in part). When judicial immunity is extended to officials other than judges, it is because their judgments are "functional[ly] comparab[le]" to those of judges—that is, because they, too, "exercise a discretionary judgment" as a part of their function. Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U. S., at 423, n. 20. Cf. Westfall v. Erwin, 484 U. S. 292, 297-298 (1988) (absolute immunity from state-law tort actions available to executive officials only when their conduct is discretionary).

The function performed by court reporters is not in this category. As noted above, court reporters are required by statute to "recor[d] verbatim" court proceedings in their entirety. 28 U. S. C. 753(b). They are afforded no discretion in the carrying out of this duty; they are to record, as accurately as possible, what transpires in court. See McLallen v. Henderson, 492 F. 2d 1298, 1299 (CA8 1974) (court reporters not absolutely immune "because their duties are ministerial, not discretionary, in nature"); Waterman v. State, 35 Misc. 2d 954, 957, 232 N. Y. S. 2d 22, 26 (Ct. Cl. 1962), aff'd in part, rev'd in part, 241 N. Y. S. 2d 314 (4th Dept., App. Div. 1963) (same).11 We do not mean to suggest that the task is less than difficult, or that reporters who do it well are less than highly skilled. But the difficulty of a job does not by itself make it functionally comparable to that of a judge. Cf. Malley v. Briggs, 475 U. S. 335, 342 (1986) (police officer not entitled to absolute immunity for conduct involved in applying for warrant). Nor is it sufficient that the task of a court reporter is extremely important or, in the words of the

11 "A court stenographer, notwithstanding the fact that he is an officer of the court, by the very nature of his work performs no judicial function. His duties are purely ministerial and administrative; he has no power of decision. The doctrine [of judicial immunity] has no application to the facts with which we are confronted here." Waterman, 35 Misc. 2d, at 957, 232 N. Y. S. 2d, at 26.

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007