SCOTUS Won't Hear Qualified Immunity Cases


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The US Supreme Court will not consider 'qualified immunity' when it convenes in October. Just one of several issues the high court said Monday that it would not take up.

SCOTUS has routinely turned down such challenges, even before George Floyd's Minneapolis arrest death.

The court's rationale has been that police misconduct must be a clear violation of established law or constitutional rights.USA Today reports courts hardly ever find this to be the case because every situation is different.

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas dissented from the decision not to hear a new case on qualified immunity, one involving a burglar who surrendered and then was bitten by a police dog.

"I have previously expressed my doubts about our qualified immunity jurisprudence," he wrote. "Because our ... qualified immunity doctrine appears to stray from the statutory text, I would grant this petition."

However, justices on numerous court levels and on both sides of the political aisle have said this creates an impossible standard.

David Cole, national legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union, highlighted the implications of the court’s decision on police accountability and Congress’ responsibility to abolish the doctrine:  

"We have seen the deadly consequences play out on the streets, and Black Americans have largely paid the price," Cole said. "Recent events demonstrate the urgent need for Congress to stand up for the rule of law and abolish qualified immunity – for anyone acting under color of law – to close the loophole allowing government officials to escape accountability for violating constitutional rights.”

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