Mississippi v. Johnson

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Mississippi v. Johnson
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued April 12, 1867
Decided April 15, 1867
Full case name The State of Mississippi v. Andrew Johnson, President of the United States
Citations 71 U.S. 475 (more)
In the course of his enforcement of the Reconstruction Acts, President Johnson was necessarily exercising discretion and so could not be sued.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Chase

Mississippi v. Johnson 71 U.S. 475 (1867) was the first suit to be brought against a President of the United States in the United States Supreme Court. The state of Mississippi attempted to sue President Andrew Johnson for enforcing Reconstruction. The court decided, based on a previous decision of Marbury v. Madison that the President has two kinds of task: ministerial and discretionary. Discretionary tasks are ones the president can choose to do or not to do. Ministerial tasks are ones required by his job. In fact, if he fails to do them, he could be violating the Constitution. The court ruled that by enforcing Reconstruction, Johnson was acting in an "executive and political" capacity—a discretionary rather than a ministerial one—and so he could not be sued.

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Further reading[edit]

  • Bell, Lauren Cohen (2004). "Following the Leaders or Leading the Followers? The US President's Relations with Congress". Journal of Legislative Studies 10 (2/3): 193–205. doi:10.1080/1357233042000322300. 
  • Kauper, Paul G. (1952). "The Steel Seizure Case: Congress, the President and the Supreme Court". Michigan Law Review (Michigan Law Review, Vol. 51, No. 2) 51 (2): 141–182. doi:10.2307/1285714. JSTOR 1285714. 
  • Kutler, Stanley I. (1968). Judicial Power and Reconstruction Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 

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