“In Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349 (1978), a divided Court considered the scope of a judicial act in a malicious context. The petitioner, Judge Harold Stump, granted a petition by a mother to have her ‘somewhat retarded’ fifteen-year-old daughter sterilized to ‘prevent unfortunate circumstances.’ A doctor performed a tubal ligation and the daughter was rendered sterile, despite having been told she was entering the hospital to have her appendix removed. Upon learning of the true nature of her procedure, the daughter filed a civil suit against, among others, Judge Stump. The district court granted the judge immunity, but the Seventh Circuit reversed, finding that Judge Stump had not acted within his jurisdiction and ‘forfeited his immunity “because of his failure to comply with elementary principles of procedural due process.”‘ Relying on Bradley, among others, the Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals. The Court could not agree that Judge Stump acted in the clear absence of jurisdiction, as the closest case law on the issue established only that a parent did not have a right to sterilize a minor child. Although that case called into question the correctness of Judge Stump’s order, it actually affirmed his jurisdiction, as Judge Stump should have denied the mother’s request on the merits, not dismissed it for lack of jurisdiction.”

Stengel continues:

The Court also took this opportunity to address the attributes of a judicial act, defining it broadly. The Court rejected the daughter’s argument that the judge did not act in his judicial capacity because the case was not given a docket number and the petition was not considered in a hearing. Thus, formality is not necessarily indicative of a judicial act. Rather, the factors that make up a judicial act ‘relate to the nature of the act itself, i.e., whether it is a function normally performed by a judge, and to the expectations of the parties, i.e., whether they dealt with the judge in his judicial capacity.’

The Court also rejected the argument that an act that is ‘totally devoid of judicial concern for the interests and well-being of the [wronged party]’ could not be considered a judicial act. The Court relied on the reasoning from Bradley that occasional unfair rulings are the cost of having an independent judiciary. The Court reasoned that disagreement with a judicial act does not justify depriving a judge of his immunity because it is in the interest of justice that a judge ‘act upon his own convictions.’ Thus, Judge Stump performed a judicial act within his jurisdiction and was deemed to be immune.

A judge can “act upon his own convictions” even if the judge is corrupt and/or racist and intentionally violates his/her Oath of Office and the Judicial Code of Conduct?!? Wtf?!

Source: Timothy M. Stengel. “Absolute Judicial Immunity Makes Absolutely No Sense. An Argument For An Exception To Judicial Immunity.” 84 Temple Law Review 1071, 1078. 2012


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