of an officer at the time of the conduct giving rise to the suit. We think its comparison is inapt. Our cases applying those immunities do not involve the interpretation of a statute. See, e. g., Spalding v. Vilas, 161 U. S. 483, 493-499 (1896) (basing a decision regarding official immunity on common law and considerations of “convenience and public policy”); Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U. S. 232, 239-242 (1974).
The reason for the official immunities in those cases does not apply here. The immunities for government officers prevent the threat of suit from “crippl[ing] the proper and effective administration of public affairs.” Spalding, supra, at 498 (discussing immunity for executive officers); see also Pierson v. Ray, 386 U. S. 547, 554 (1967) (judicial immunity serves the public interest in judges who are “at liberty to exercise their functions with independence and without fear of consequences” (internal quotation marks omitted)). Foreign sovereign immunity, by contrast, is not meant to avoid chilling foreign states or their instrumentalities in the conduct of their business but to give foreign states and their instrumentalities some protection from the inconvenience of suit as a gesture of comity between the United States and other sovereigns. Verlinden, 461 U. S., at 486.
For the same reason, the Dead Sea Companies’ reliance on Nixon v. Fitzgerald, 457 U. S. 731 (1982), is unavailing. There, we recognized that the President was immune from liability for official actions taken during his time in office, even against a suit filed when he was no longer serving in that capacity. The immunity served the same function that the other official immunities serve. See id., at 751 (“Because of the singular importance of the President’s duties, diversion of his energies by concern with private lawsuits would raise unique risks to the effective functioning of government”). As noted above, immunity under the FSIA does not serve the same purpose.
The immunity recognized in Nixon was also based on a further rationale, one not applicable here: the constitutional