Clinton v. Goldsmith, 526 U.S. 529, 3 (1999)

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Cite as: 526 U. S. 529 (1999)

Opinion of the Court

Deputy Solicitor General Dreeben argued the cause for petitioners. With him on the briefs were Solicitor General Waxman, James A. Feldman, Lisa Schiavo Blatt, and Judith A. Miller.

John M. Economidy argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief were Carol L. Hubbard, Karen L. Hecker, and Douglas H. Kohrt.

Justice Souter delivered the opinion of the Court.

The challenge here is to the use of the All Writs Act, 28 U. S. C. 1651(a), by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, to enjoin the President and various military officials from dropping respondent from the rolls of the Air Force. Because that court's process was neither "in aid of" its strictly circumscribed jurisdiction to review court-martial findings and sentences under 10 U. S. C. 867 nor "necessary or appropriate" in light of a servicemember's alternative opportunities to seek relief, we hold that the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces lacked jurisdiction to issue the injunction.


Respondent James Goldsmith, a major in the United States Air Force, was ordered by a superior officer to inform his sex partners that he was HIV-positive and to take measures to block any transfer of bodily fluids during sexual relations. Contrary to this order, on two occasions Goldsmith had unprotected intercourse, once with a fellow officer and once with a civilian, without informing either that he was carrying HIV.

As a consequence of his defiance, Goldsmith was convicted by general court-martial of willful disobedience of an order from a superior commissioned officer, aggravated assault with means likely to produce death or grievous bodily harm, and assault consummated by battery, in violation of Articles 90 and 128 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), 10 U. S. C. 890, 928(b)(1), (a). In 1994, he was sentenced to six years' confinement and forfeiture of $2,500 of his pay


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