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Nadler, Bass & Cohen Statement on SCOTUS Refusal to Re-examine Qualified Immunity

Washington, June 15, 2020

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (D-CA), and Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Chair Steve Cohen (D-TN) released the following statement on the Supreme Court's refusal to re-examine the doctrine of qualified immunity: 

"Today, the Supreme Court refused to re-examine its misguided decisions shielding government officials from accountability when they violate Americans’ civil rights.  The Court invented its 'qualified immunity' doctrine without any basis in the text of a core civil rights law, 42 U.S.C. 1983, which was enacted during the Reconstruction era so that victims of official misconduct could vindicate their rights in civil suits.  Qualified immunity has repeatedly barred victims of police brutality from having their day in court, and it has been criticized by liberals and conservatives alike.

"The Supreme Court’s failure to reconsider this flawed legal rule makes it all the more important for Congress to act.  The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 does just that: it makes clear that qualified immunity cannot be used as a defense in civil rights suits against federal, state, or local law enforcement officers.  It is long past time to remove this arbitrary and unlawful barrier and to ensure police are held accountable when they violate the constitutional rights of the people whom they are meant to serve."
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