Aziz Huq - "The Collapse of Constitutional Remedies" - Colleen Connell

Add to Calendar 2022-02-09 18:00:00 2022-02-09 19:00:00 Aziz Huq - "The Collapse of Constitutional Remedies" - Colleen Connell Event details: - University of Chicago Law School America/Chicago public
Open to the public

Aziz Huq discusses The Collapse of Constitutional Remedies (USA Oxford University Press 2021). He will be joined in conversation by Colleen Connell.

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About the book: Just recently, the Supreme Court rejected an argument by plaintiffs that police officers should no longer be protected by the doctrine of qualified immunity when they shoot or brutalize an innocent civilian. Qualified immunity is but one of several judicial inventions that shields state violence and thwarts the vindication of our rights. But aren't courts supposed to be protectors of individual rights? As Aziz Huq shows in The Collapse of Constitutional Remedies, history reveals a much more tangled relationship between the Constitution's system of independent courts and the protection of constitutional rights.

While doctrines such as qualified immunity may seem abstract, their real-world harms are anything but. A highway patrol officer stops a person's car in violation of the Fourth Amendment, violently yanked the person out and threw him to the ground, causing brain damage. A municipal agency fires a person for testifying in a legal proceeding involving her boss's family-and then laughed in her face when she demanded her job back. In all these cases, state defendants walked away with the most minor of penalties (if any at all). Ultimately, we may have rights when challenging the state, but no remedies. In fact, federal courts have long been fickle and unreliable guardians of individual rights. To be sure, through the mid-twentieth century, the courts positioned themselves as the ultimate protector of citizens suffering the state's infringement of their rights. But they have more recently abandoned, and even aggressively repudiated, a role as the protector of individual rights in the face of abuses by the state. Ironically, this collapse flows not decisions that the Framers took when setting up federal courts in the first place.

A powerful historical account of the how the expansion of the immunity principle generated yawning gap between rights and remedies in contemporary America, The Collapse of Constitutional Remedies will reshape our understanding of why it has become so difficult to effectively challenge crimes committed by the state.

About the author: Aziz Z. Huq is the Frank and Bernice J. Greenberg Professor of Law. He works on topics ranging from democratic backsliding to regulating AI, and has published with Chicago, Oxford, and Cambridge University presses. Before joining the Law School, he worked as counsel and then director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Project, Senior Consultant Analyst for the International Crisis Group, and as a law clerk for Judge Robert D. Sack of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and then for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court of the United States. His previous books include How to Save a Constitutional Democracy (with Tom Ginsburg).

About the interlocutor: Colleen Connell joined the ACLU of Illinois in 1984, and has previously served as its Associate Legal Director and Director of the Reproductive Rights Project. Her legal practice has taken her to courts of all levels in both the state and federal justice system, litigating on issues including on rights of the mentally ill; equal access to education; housing discrimination; employment discrimination on behalf of women, freedom of speech and association; and other constitutional rights. She has argued before the Supreme Court of the United States on important matters involving the rights of women to control their own reproductive health.

In January of 2001, Colleen Connell became the first woman attorney to lead the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. As Executive Director, Ms. Connell has expanded the organization’s legislative and communications programs, its national security and informational privacy docket, and its institutional reform litigation. Under her direction, the ACLU of Illinois has adopted a strategy of integrated advocacy, using every tool at its disposal – public communications, litigation, community engagement, and advocacy – strategically and in concert to defend and expand fundamental liberties and rights in the most effective ways possible.

This event is presented by the Seminary Co-op.