5–3 DECISION FOR STUMP SCOTUS
MAJORITY OPINION BY BYRON R. WHITE
William J. Brennan, Jr.
Byron R. White
Warren E. Burger
Harry A. Blackmun
Lewis F. Powell, Jr. - There is a link to SoundCloud to listen to his dessent -
William H. Rehnquist
John Paul Stevens
Yes. Justice Byron R. White delivered the opinion of the 5-3 majority. The Court held that the law vested the district court judge with the power to entertain and act upon the petition for sterilization, and he is therefore immune from damages liability even if his approval of the petition was in error. The Court held that a judge could only be deprived of immunity when he acted in clear absence of jurisdiction. In this case, the court had general jurisdiction over the petition for sterilization, therefore, Judge Stump’s approval was a judicial act, and he was immunized from liability.
Justice Potter Stewart wrote a dissent, in which he argued that the scope of judicial immunity was a limited liability for judicial acts. Because approval of a petition for sterilization is not a function normally performed by a judge, it is not a judicial act. In a separate dissent, Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. argued that a judicial officer acted in a manner that precluded all resort to appellate or other judicial remedies and that the judge should not be entitled to immunity.
Justice William J. Brennan Jr. did not participate in the discussion or decision of the case.
Majority White, joined by Burger, Blackmun, Rehnquist, Stevens
Dissent Stewart, joined by Marshall, Powell
Brennan took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.