Access to Justice

RELEASE: Important Win for Accountability in Thompson v. Clark 

WASHINGTON – On news this morning of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Thompson v. Clark—allowing people to sue police officers under Section 1983 for instigating baseless criminal charges against them once those charges have been dropped—Constitutional Accountability Center Senior Appellate Counsel Brian Frazelle said:

Today’s ruling is an important win for accountability. The Court today reaffirmed that police officers can be held accountable under the Fourth Amendment for false accusations that cause a person to be seized without justification. And, rejecting the argument of the police, the Court refused to limit victims’ ability to hold officers accountable for such false accusations based on dubious comparisons to the rules of common law torts. Section 1983 was passed to provide redress for constitutional violations, and as the Court has repeatedly emphasized, it is appropriate to use common law rules as a model only when doing so is consistent with the constitutional right at stake—here, the right to be secure against unreasonable seizures.



CAC case page in Thompson v. Clark:

CAC ISSUE BRIEF: Repairing Our System of Constitutional Accountability: Reflections on the 150th Anniversary of Section 1983, David Gans, November 10, 2021:


Constitutional Accountability Center is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history. Visit CAC’s website at


More from Access to Justice

Access to Justice
U.S. Supreme Court

Arellano v. McDonough

In Arellano v. McDonough, the Supreme Court is considering whether a one-year deadline for veterans to submit claims for retroactive compensation for service-connected disabilities can be extended under principles of equitable tolling.
Access to Justice
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

Torres v. Madrid II

In Torres v. Madrid, the Tenth Circuit is considering, among other things, whether police officers who shot an individual in the back as she drove away from them are entitled to qualified immunity.
Access to Justice
May 5, 2022

Supreme Court Can Improve Access to Courts Next Term in Reed v. Goertz

Last month, in a case called Thompson v. Clark, the Supreme Court opened the courthouse...
By: Qadir Ahmad
Access to Justice
March 4, 2022

Supreme Court Sides With F.B.I. in Case on Spying on Muslims

The New York Times
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Friday unanimously rejected an argument that could have limited the sweep...
By: Brian R. Frazelle, By Adam Liptak
Access to Justice
March 4, 2022

RELEASE: CAC Reacts to Supreme Court Ruling in FBI v. Fazaga

WASHINGTON – Following the Supreme Court's ruling this morning in Federal Bureau of Investigation v....
By: Brian R. Frazelle
Access to Justice
March 2, 2022

RELEASE: “Fourth Amendment Free Zone”? CAC Reacts to Oral Argument in Egbert v. Boule

WASHINGTON – Following oral argument at the Supreme Court this morning in Egbert v. Boule,...
By: David H. Gans