William Baude on New Calls for the Supreme Court to Reconsider Qualified Immunity

New Calls for the Supreme Court to Reconsider Qualified Immunity

What do the Alliance Defending Freedom, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, and the Reason Foundation have in common? A "cross-ideological consensus that this Court's qualified immunity doctrine under 42 U.S.C. 1983 misunderstands that statute and its common-law backdrop, denies justice to victims of egregious constitutional violations, and fails to provide accountability for official wrongdoing." They, along with many other groups across the ideological spectrum, filed an amicus brief yesterday in the Supreme Court encouraging it to grant cert in Allah v. Milling, a cert petition that asks whether qualified immunity should be modified or overruled.

You can find the Second Circuit's opinion here. The plaintiff actually went to trial and won $62,650 for his mistreatment in prison before the verdict was overturned, 2-1, by an appeals panel on the ground that qualified immunity protected the defendants from liability for their unconstitutional conduct. You can find a New York Times story about the amicus brief and the case here. A group of scholars, including me, also filed an amicus brief of our own, arguing that the legal and practical justifications for qualified immunity doctrine are flawed and should be revisited.

Read more at The Volokh Conspiracy