Christopher v. Harbury, 536 U.S. 403, 10 (2002)

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Opinion of the Court

finishes prosecuting her tort claims." Ibid. Nor did the court hold that qualified immunity would bar suit because, in its words, "we think it should be obvious to public officials that they may not affirmatively mislead citizens for the purpose of protecting themselves from suit." Id., at 611.5


Three categories of claims were left in the case after the Court of Appeals's decision: the various common law tort claims including intentional infliction of emotional distress, the international law claim against the CIA defendants (neither of which the District Court had dismissed), and Harbury's Bivens claims against the State Department and NSC defendants for preventing access to courts (which the Court of Appeals reinstated). The defendant officials petitioned for review of the court's holding as to the claim of denial of access to courts, but Harbury did not cross-petition on the other Bivens claims, leaving the Bivens access claim6 the sole matter before us. We granted certiorari, 534 U. S. 1064 (2001), because of the importance of this issue to the Government in its conduct of the Nation's foreign affairs, and now reverse.



This Court's prior cases on denial of access to courts have not extended over the entire range of claims that have been brought under that general rubric elsewhere, but if we con-5 The District of Columbia Circuit denied rehearing, Harbury v. Deutch, 244 F. 3d 956, 957 (2001) (per curiam), and rehearing en banc, 244 F. 3d 960, 961 (2001), with two judges dissenting from denial of rehearing en banc.

6 The petitioners did not challenge below the existence of a cause of action under Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U. S. 388 (1971), and we express no opinion on the matter in deciding this case.

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