Civil and Human Rights

RELEASE: Qualified Immunity and the Justice in Policing Act of 2020

WASHINGTON – On introduction of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, Constitutional Accountability Center President Elizabeth Wydra issued the following statement:

After we fought a bloody Civil War to become closer to the Revolutionary ideals of freedom and equality, the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed liberty and equal citizenship to all, regardless of race. In 1871, the Reconstruction Congress passed Section 1983 to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment and ensure that individuals could go to court to redress constitutional violations and obtain justice. But the Supreme Court later created a doctrine immunizing state actors from accountability—qualified immunity—effectively barring the courthouse doors for many whose constitutional rights have been violated. As Congress takes up this important piece of legislation, we look forward to working with them to end this judge-made doctrine so that we have government accountability.

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Resources:

“The Supreme Court Enabled Horrific Police Violence by Ignoring Constitutional History,” David H. Gans, Slate, June 3, 2020: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/06/supreme-court-enabled-george-floyd-murder-police-violence.html

“Civil Rights Coalition Letter on Federal Policing Priorities,” Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, June 1, 2020: https://civilrights.org/resource/civil-rights-coalition-letter-on-federal-policing-priorities/

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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 www.theusconstitution.org.

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