Correctional Services Corp. v. Malesko, 534 U.S. 61, 9 (2001)

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Cite as: 534 U. S. 61 (2001)

Opinion of the Court

sponded cautiously to suggestions that Bivens remedies be extended into new contexts." 487 U. S., at 421. In light of these decisions, we noted that "[t]he absence of statutory relief for a constitutional violation . . . does not by any means necessarily imply that courts should award money damages against the officers responsible for the violation." Id., at 421-422. We therefore rejected the claim that a Bivens remedy should be implied simply for want of any other means for challenging a constitutional deprivation in federal court. It did not matter, for example, that "[t]he creation of a Bivens remedy would obviously offer the prospect of relief for injuries that must now go unredressed." 487 U. S., at 425. See also Bush, supra, at 388 (noting that "existing remedies do not provide complete relief for the plaintiff"); Stanley, supra, at 683 ("[I]t is irrelevant to a special factors analysis whether the laws currently on the books afford Stanley . . . an adequate federal remedy for his injuries" (internal quotation marks omitted)). So long as the plaintiff had an avenue for some redress, bedrock principles of separation of powers foreclosed judicial imposition of a new substantive liability. Chilicky, supra, at 425-427.

Most recently, in FDIC v. Meyer, we unanimously declined an invitation to extend Bivens to permit suit against a federal agency, even though the agency—because Congress had waived sovereign immunity—was otherwise amenable to suit. 510 U. S., at 484-486. Our opinion emphasized that "the purpose of Bivens is to deter the officer," not the agency. Id., at 485 (emphasis in original) (citing Carlson v. Green, supra, at 21). We reasoned that if given the choice, plaintiffs would sue a federal agency instead of an individual who could assert qualified immunity as an affirmative defense. To the extent aggrieved parties had less incentive to bring a damages claim against individuals, "the deterrent effects of the Bivens remedy would be lost." 510 U. S., at 485. Accordingly, to allow a Bivens claim against federal agencies "would mean the evisceration of the Bivens remedy,


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