How Qualified Immunity Protects Police Officers
: “As long as a(n) [government] official’s [unconstitutional] conduct is uniquely
outrageous, it’s impossible to hold him/her liable for it.”
This practice dates back to 1967, but was ‘canonized’ in a 2009 Supreme Court ruling that courts in civil cases didn’t even need to consider whether an unconstitutional act was committed unless another court had already “clearly established” that the same conduct in the same context in a previous case was unlawful and not worthy of immunity.
One could argue that this gives the government and its agents the obscene incentive to find actions that haven’t yet been used and judged, so they cannot be held liable for them. And it doesn’t stop there: in a ‘perfect’ and equally obscene catch-22 twist such a case never has to be added to the books as illegal if it didn’t exist before this ruling. Note that while mostly used in police misconduct cases, the ruling effectively applies to other government agencies as well.
Banana republic anyone?
PS. There are indications that SCOTUS is looking into the ruling
, but rather than removing it may leave it intact with ‘clarifications’ to narrow its use.