The Story of Bivens v. Six Unknown-Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics
James E. Pfander
Northwestern University School of Law
August 27, 2009
FEDERAL COURTS' STORIES, Judith Resnik & Vicki C. Jackson, eds., 2009
Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 09-36
In Bivens v. Six Unknown-Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the Supreme Court recognized the right of an individual to sue federal government officials for a violation of constitutional rights. Drawing on interviews with some of the participants, including Webster Bivens himself and one of the agents who conducted the search, this chapter in the forthcoming book Federal Courts' Stories describes the events that led to the litigation and the complex array of factors that informed the Court's approach to the case. After placing the Bivens decision in context, the chapter evaluates the competing narratives that have grown up around the famous decision.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 21
Keywords: constitutional torts, Bivens, individual rights
JEL Classification: K10, K19
Date posted: August 31, 2009 ; Last revised: February 2, 2010
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