William Jefferson Clinton v. Paula Corbin Jones
United States Supreme Court
520 U.S. 681 (1997)
William Jefferson Clinton (defendant) was elected President of the United States in 1992 and 1996. In 1991, Clinton served as the Governor of Arkansas. He attended a conference that year at a hotel staffed by Paula Corbin Jones (plaintiff). Jones alleged that, while at the conference, Danny Ferguson, a former Arkansas police officer, persuaded her to leave her post and visit Governor Clinton’s hotel room. Once there, Jones alleged that Clinton made lewd sexual advances towards her which she rejected. She filed suit in the District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, naming Clinton and Ferguson as defendants. She also claimed that her supervisors subsequently changed her duties and treated her poorly because she rejected Clinton’s advances. Jones sought actual damages of $75,000 and punitive damages of $100,000. The district court held that the President was immune from suit and that any litigation must be stayed until the conclusion of the President’s term. The court of appeals reversed, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)
Concurrence (Breyer, J.)