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Mitchell v. Forsyth

472 U.S. 511 (1985)

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Mitchell v. Forsyth

United States Supreme Court

472 U.S. 511 (1985)

Facts

John Mitchell (defendant), a former attorney general, authorized a warrantless wiretap of the conversations of Keith Forsyth (plaintiff) to collect information about a domestic threat to national security. One year later, warrantless wiretaps were held unconstitutional. After Forsyth sued Mitchell for the warrantless wiretap, the federal district court decided that Mitchell was not entitled to qualified immunity because the unconstitutionality of warrantless wiretaps was clearly established at the time Mitchell authorized the wiretap. Mitchell appealed, and the court of appeals refused to reconsider the question until the case had been fully litigated. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

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