February 07, 2018 Articles

Rethinking Qualified Immunity

Almost all the Roberts Court’s recent qualified-immunity opinions have protected police officers when the lower courts denied qualified immunity.

By Lynda G. Dodd – February 7, 2018

Almost all the Roberts Court’s recent qualified-immunity opinions, including many summary reversals, have protected police officers when the lower courts denied qualified immunity. See, e.g, Stanton v. Sims, 134 S.Ct. 3 (2013) (per curiam); Carroll v. Carman, 135 S.Ct. 348 (2014) (per curiam); Taylor v. Barkes,135 S.Ct. 2042 (2015) (per curiam); Mullenix v. Luna, 136 S.Ct. 305 (2015) (per curiam); White v. Pauly, 137 S.Ct. 548 (2017) (per curiam). University of Chicago law professor William Baude has described this trend in the Court’s decisions as a “crusade” in which the Roberts Court is “doubling down” on qualified immunity, “enforcing it aggressively against the lower courts” in a manner that “sends them a signal that they should drift toward immunity.” William Baude, “Is Qualified Immunity Unlawful?” California Law Review, forthcoming.

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