• Supreme Court may be preparing to consider several major cases on qualified immunity

    Jay Schweikert | October 11, 2019

    For the last couple of years, the Cato Institute, along with other public interest groups, academics, and lower court judges from across the ideological spectrum, has been urging the Supreme Court to reconsider the doctrine of qualified immunity. This atextual, ahistorical doctrine — which shields public officials from liability, even when they break the law — was essentially invented out of whole cloth by the Supreme Court in 1967. And the modern version of the doctrine,

    Continue reading “Supreme Court may be preparing to consider several major cases on qualified immunity”

  • Eleventh Circuit grants immunity to officer who shot a child lying on the ground, while trying to shoot a harmless dog

    Jay Schweikert | July 15, 2019

    The Eleventh Circuit’s decision in Corbitt v. Vickers, handed down last week, constitutes one of the most grotesque and indefensible applications of the qualified immunity I’ve ever seen. The case involves a claim of excessive force against Michael Vickers, a deputy sheriff in Coffee County, Georgia, who shot a ten-year-old child lying on the ground, while repeatedly attempting to shoot a pet dog that wasn’t posing any threat. Without even deciding the constitutional question,

    Continue reading “Eleventh Circuit grants immunity to officer who shot a child lying on the ground, while trying to shoot a harmless dog”

  • Cato Files Brief Challenging Qualified Immunity for Warrantless Strip Search of 4-Year-Old

    Jay Schweikert | May 1, 2019

    For over a year, Cato has been leading the charge to challenge the doctrine of qualified immunity: an atextual, ahistorical doctrine invented by the Supreme Court in the 1960s, which shields government agents from liability for misconduct – even when they break the law. Today marks a huge milestone in that ongoing campaign, as Cato has just filed an amicus brief in support of a new cert petition calling on the Court to reconsider this doctrine.

    Continue reading “Cato Files Brief Challenging Qualified Immunity for Warrantless Strip Search of 4-Year-Old”

  • Yet another federal judge tears into qualified immunity, citing Cato Institute & Will Baude

    Jay Schweikert | September 21, 2018

    The legal blogosphere has been abuzz with Judge Willett’s recent “dubitante” concurrence in Zadeh v. Robinson, in which the Twitter superstar and Supreme Court shortlister urged reconsideration of the judge-made doctrine of qualified immunity. Yet just one day before that decision was released, another federal judge — James O. Browning, in the District of New Mexico — issued his own blistering criticism of the doctrine,

    Continue reading “Yet another federal judge tears into qualified immunity, citing Cato Institute & Will Baude”

  • The campaign against qualified immunity is steadily expanding

    Jay Schweikert | September 13, 2018

    You would be hard pressed to find an issue that unites a wider and more diverse set of allies than opposition to qualified immunity. Justices Thomas and Sotomayor (joined by Justice Ginsburg) have both criticized the doctrine, as have a growing chorus of diverse lower-court judges — including newly appointed Judge Don Willett, of the Fifth Circuit. And recall that the recent amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to reconsider the doctrine was quite possibly the most diverse brief ever filed with the Court (including,

    Continue reading “The campaign against qualified immunity is steadily expanding”

  • Read more >>