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Volokh Conspiracy

The Cato Institute's New Civil Rights/Police Accountability Initiative

Canvassing the legal problems and practical effects of qualified immunity from constitutional lawsuits


Last week, the Cato Institute announced the launch of an important new initiative aiming to vindicate civil rights and police accountability by opposing the legal doctrine of qualified immunity. (Qualified immunity is the doctrine that a government official can be held liable for a constitutional violation only if they are "plainly incompetent" or "knowingly violate the law.")

To launch the initiative, Cato hosted a forum, Qualified Immunity: The Supreme Court's Unlawful Assault on Civil Rights and Police Accountability, featuring Cato's Clark Neily, me, Judge Lynn Adelman, and two practicing lawers, Victor Glasberg and Andrew Pincus. It was a lively panel with some great questions, and you can now watch the video here.

And if you want to hear still more, I also recorded this podcast with Cato's Caleb Brown: Why Won't Courts Question Qualified Immunity? and Cato's Clark Neily and Jay Schweikert recorded this earlier episode on The Case against Qualified Immunity.

Having written endless blog posts and this article about the problems with qualified immunity, I was proud to be a part of this, and very happy to see Cato taking this stand.