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C-SPAN Radio's Historic Supreme Court Oral Arguments: Earl Butz, et al v. Arthur Economou, et al (1978)

Government Liability and Immunity

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court

Washington, DC
Saturday, March 12, 2011

Arthur Economou sued then-Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz and other federal officials for wrongful initiation of administrative proceedings after the department attempted revoke or suspend his commodity futures company's registration. Butz cited his official government status and called for immunity in the lawsuit.

First, the District Court found in favor of Economou, saying that state officials were granted absolute immunity, then the New York Court of Appeals reversed, finding that federal administrators were only entitled to qualified immunity.

Butz appealed and the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

Updated: Friday, March 11, 2011 at 5:35pm (ET)

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