USA Today Wants Supreme Court To Strike Down Qualified Immunity For Police

I wonder if the editorial board of the USA Today realizes that if SCOTUS kills off qualified immunity for police they would be doing the same for politicians and government employees? Nah. This is really about some cop hatred

Not above the law: Supreme Court can protect citizens by striking down qualified immunity

Even before bipartisan Senate negotiations on advancing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act recently broke down after months of negotiations, a key reform of police accountability was off the table: qualified immunity.

The judge-invented notion protects police officers from civil suits even if they violate someone’s constitutional rights, unless those rights have been upheld by the relevant federal appeals court in a similar case.

Reform of qualified immunity is key to holding police officers responsible for misdeeds on the job. Cops can kill, rape and steal and never face accountability in civil court as long as the Supreme Court continues to enforce this misguided legal doctrine.

Actually, that is not correct. They can face criminal and civil penalties for certain misconduct that is not covered. But, the editorial board doesn’t want you to know that.

Fortunately, the court has several cases before the justices that offer the chance to reshape qualified immunity or to abolish it and related rulings that give federal officers even stronger protection from civil suits.

Among those waiting for the Supreme Court to decide whether to hear arguments are:

The piece gives a few examples of some misconduct, conveniently forgetting that the vast majority of officers are good people who do not do wrong, but, will be accused and sued personally for bullshit of QI is removed. How many hate hoaxes do we see? How many people are accused of misconduct that never occurred, which destroys their life? Some gets pulled over, given a ticket, and then will get accused of racism or sexual misconduct or something.

The Supreme Court should take these opportunities to overrule its misguided decisions that shield police officers from lawsuits when they violate citizens’ constitutional rights.

No one, especially the police, should be immune from accountability when they harm another person.

Well, that’s interesting, because papers like the USA Today hide behind their 1st Amendment shield when they’ve done wrong. And a major national newspaper can ruin someone in a heartbeat, and, even if that person manages to win their case, it’s too late. And, the editorial board forgets to make a case as to why the Supreme Court should kill off QI. Not one shred of Constitutional qualification. Zip. Nothing. And, they’re trying to say that QI is a creation of the court. Nope

(NCSL) The doctrine of qualified immunity protects state and local officials, including law enforcement officers, from individual liability unless the official violated a clearly established constitutional right.

The evolution of qualified immunity began in 1871 when Congress adopted 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which makes government employees and officials personally liable for money damages if they violate a person’s federal constitutional rights. State and local police officers may be sued under § 1983. Until the 1960s, few § 1983 lawsuits were successfully brought. In 1967, the Supreme Court recognized qualified immunity as a defense to § 1983 claims. In 1982, the Supreme Court adopted the current test for the doctrine. Qualified immunity is generally available if the law a government official violated isn’t “clearly established.”

Created by Congress. And, officers can be sued. It’s just difficult. Same with government employees. Even harder with elected officials. Why do groups like the USAEB always forget about those latter ones? If you do something dumb at your business, the business can be sued. It would be tough to go after you personally. Most states have their own laws about QI. Which means SCOTUS cannot rule them unconstitutional, especially when there is no argument that QI is unconstitutional.

This is all about cop hatred, though. Which is rather gauche, and so 2020’s.

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2 Responses to “USA Today Wants Supreme Court To Strike Down Qualified Immunity For Police”

  1. Kye says:

    “Qualified immunity is generally available if the law a government official violated isn’t “clearly established.””

    And since “clearly established” is itself not clearly established it means it’s just another leftist loophole created by leftist lawyers. Kudos! You once again circumvented the Constitution (equal treatment), the spirit of our laws, the people’s right to self defense (even against folks the left loves) plus common sense and good moral judgement. IOW, the left’s usual MO.

  2. gitarcarver says:

    Qualified immunity does not need to be eliminated, but it needs to be reigned in significantly. That is why conservative Justices such as Thomas, Kennedy and Scalia have all written opinions that the Supreme Court should look at the qualified immunity.

    Qualified immunity grew out of the notion that if a policeman or government official was acting in good faith and in a belief they were doing right, their conduct was seen in the best light. In the 1982 case Harlow v. Fitzgerald, the Supreme Court changed the standard away from the historical “good faith and best light” standard to defendants would be entitled to qualified immunity whenever “their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.”

    This means that the police get one free bite of the apple when there is no direct court decision that determined every element in the case was illegal.

    For example, a man was kept in a filthy cell, with walls covered in feces, no working toilet or drain, and no bed. The man literally had to sleep and eat in feces and urine. He sued under the Eight Amendment and qualified immunity was granted because there was no case that said that keeping a prisoner in those exact conditions was illegal.

    Recently, the Eleventh Circuit ruled that even though a 1985 case ruled that an inmate was illegally denied medical attention from a head that case would not apply to correctional officers who denied medical care to an inmate literally leaving a trail of blood down the hallway as the blood came from his hand and not his head.

    Qualified immunity should not be abolished, but it should be re-examined and perhaps return to the historical standard of “good faith” rather than the current standard.

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