Christopher v. Harbury, 536 U.S. 403, 20 (2002)

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Thomas, J., concurring in judgment

bury for the unique loss she claims as a consequence of her inability to bring an intentional-infliction action earlier. She has not explained, and it is not otherwise apparent, that she can get any relief on the access claim that she cannot obtain on her other tort claims, i. e., those that remain pending in the District Court.22 And it is just because the access claim cannot address any injury she has suffered in a way the presently surviving intentional-infliction claims cannot 23

that Harbury is not entitled to maintain the access claim as a substitute, backward-looking action.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

It is so ordered.

Justice Thomas, concurring in the judgment.

In Lewis v. Casey, 518 U. S. 343 (1996), after a review of the constitutional text, this Court's precedent, and tradition, I could find no basis "for the conclusion that the constitutional right of access imposes affirmative obligations on the States to finance and support prisoner litigation." Id., at 384-385 (concurring opinion). Likewise, I find no basis in the Constitution for a "right of access to courts" that effectively imposes an affirmative duty on Government officials either to disclose matters concerning national security or to provide information in response to informal requests. Notwithstanding the Court of Appeals' attempt to characterize

22 This might not be the case where, for example, the underlying claim had been tried or settled for an inadequate amount given official deception, see Foster, 28 F. 3d, at 427; Bell, 746 F. 2d, at 1223, and thus likely barred by res judicata, or where the statute of limitations had run, see Swekel, 119 F. 3d, at 1261.

23 If Harbury's existing tort claims should be dismissed for the reasons identified in n. 19, supra, or other reasons unrelated to the alleged deception by the State Department officials, she would still be unable to identify a predicate cause of action necessary to state a backward-looking access claim.

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