Qualified Immunity

Noteworthy Qualified Immunity Settlement

The state pays (and generously) to avoid the pending cert. petition in Allah v. Milling

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Earlier this summer, I posted about a pending cert. petition in Allah v. Milling that had prompted two interesting amicus briefs encouraging the Supreme Court to reevaluate its doctrine of qualified immunity—one by a cross-ideological group of public interest organizations, the other by a group of scholars (including me). The petiton had been pending for this fall, but Monday the case was instead dismissed by consent of the parties.

That would be quite disappointing, were it not for the reason the case was dismissed—apparently after the cert. petition and briefs were filed, the state decided that it was not interested in trying to defend its victory in the Second Circuit, and negotiated a settlement with the plaintiff. Indeed, I am told that the state ended up settling for even more than the plaintiff had originally won at trial, so it was as much of a victory for the plaintiff as he could have hoped for. That's extremely heartening for an individual claim to justice, even if it leaves the broader issue untouched for now.

So while the settlement does mean that the Supreme Court won't have the option of granting the question presented in this case, if another good vehicle comes along, I suspect there will be new amicus briefs.

NEXT: California Legislature Tries to Stop "Patient Dumping"

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  1. Sounds like a mixed blessing to me. Good for the individual litigant, but bad for the rest of the country as qualified immunity needs to be eliminated, are at the least severely curtailed.

    And FIRST!

  2. Seldom do governments signal so well that they are so scared, and I can only guess that comes directly from prosecutors and police unions being even more scared. A real change is inevitable.

  3. Basically a concession that they expected to lose, and were willing to pay big bucks to be able to continue wronging OTHER people for a while longer.

  4. I have, under current qualified immunity jurisprudence, attempting to follow the constitution is for losers. If you can find a lawyer to ensure there’s no case specifically on point, you’re in the clear.

    If a case hasn’t specifally held you can’t grab the pussy, grab the pussy! If a case hasn’t specifically held that you can’t throw people into immigration detention because they had a midwife at their birth and some midwife somewhere once told a lie, take away those passports, baby, and while you’re at it skip that jail business and deport their pussies right out of country. If a case hasn’t specifically held you can’t use a handful of invalid voting cases as an excuse to subpoena all voting records and find out who voted for whom and whom you can intimidate into not voting next time if they don’t want to be deported, do it!

    The Supreme Court assumes the executive branch zealously guards the public interest. Pussies! Losers! They’re too clueless to even know what’s going to hit them.

    I don’t usually cuss in post comments. But this stuff deserves cussing.

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