Mississippi v. Johnson

Case Date: 12/05/1867

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.