The Bush administration asked the Supreme Court Monday to throw out a lawsuit that seeks to hold federal agents responsible for driving an upstate New York computer software company out of business when the owner’s husband was mistakenly targeted in a child pornography investigation.

Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, an assistant solicitor general, told the justices that a 1946 law limiting lawsuits against the government and its employees was designed to protect “the morale of the civil service.”