Antoine v. Byers & Anderson, Inc., 508 U.S. 429, 9 (1993)

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Cite as: 508 U. S. 429 (1993)

Opinion of the Court

Court of Appeals, "indispensable to the appellate process." 950 F. 2d, at 1476. As we explained in Forrester, some of the tasks performed by judges themselves, "even though they may be essential to the very functioning of the courts, have not . . . been regarded as judicial acts." 484 U. S., at 228. In short, court reporters do not exercise the kind of judgment that is protected by the doctrine of judicial immunity.

Finally, respondents argue that strong policy reasons support extension of absolute immunity to court reporters. According to respondents, given the current volume of litigation in the federal courts, some reporters inevitably will be unable to meet deadlines. Absolute immunity would help to protect the entire judicial process from vexatious lawsuits brought by disappointed litigants when this happens. Requiring court reporters to defend against allegations like those asserted here, on the other hand, would not only be unfair, but would also aggravate the problem by contributing further to the caseload in the federal courts.

Assuming the relevance of respondents' policy arguments, we find them unpersuasive for three reasons. First, our understanding is that cases of this kind are relatively rare. Respondents have not provided us with empirical evidence demonstrating the existence of any significant volume of vexatious and burdensome actions against reporters, even in the Circuits in which reporters are not absolutely immune. See n. 3, supra. Second, if a large number of cases does materialize, and we have misjudged the significance of this burden, then a full review of the countervailing policy considerations by the Congress may result in appropriate amendment to the Court Reporter Act. Third, and most important, we have no reason to believe that the Federal Judiciary, which surely is familiar with the special virtues and concerns of the court reporting profession, will be unable to administer justice to its members fairly.


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