OCTOBER TERM, 2007
NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is
being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.
The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been
prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader.
See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321, 337.
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
ALI v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS ET AL.
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR
THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT
No. 06–9130. Argued October 29, 2007—Decided January 22, 2008
The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) waives the United States’ sover-
eign immunity for claims arising out of torts committed by federal
employees, see 28 U. S. C. §1346(b)(1), but, as relevant here, exempts
from that waiver “[a]ny claim arising in respect of the assessment or
collection of any tax or customs duty, or the detention of any . . . prop-
erty by any officer of customs or excise or any other law enforcement
officer,” §2680(c). Upon his transfer from an Atlanta federal prison to
one in Kentucky, petitioner noticed that several items were missing
from his personal property, which had been shipped to the new facil-
ity by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Alleging that BOP offi-
cers had lost his property, petitioner filed this suit under, inter alia,
the FTCA, but the District Court dismissed that claim as barred by
§2680(c). Affirming, the Eleventh Circuit rejected petitioner’s argu-
ment that the statutory phrase “any officer of customs or excise or
any other law enforcement officer” applies only to officers enforcing
customs or excise laws.
Held: Section 2680(c)’s text and structure demonstrate that the broad
phrase “any other law enforcement officer” covers all law enforcement
officers. Petitioner’s argument that §2680(c) is focused on preserving
sovereign immunity only for officers enforcing customs and excise
laws is inconsistent with the statute’s lan