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Clear As Mud: How The Uncertain Precedential Status Of Unpublished Opinions Muddles Qualified Immunity Determinations, David Cleveland
David R. Cleveland
While unpublished opinions are now freely citeable under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32.1, their precedential value remains uncertain. This ambiguity muddles the already unclear law surrounding qualified immunity and denies courts valuable precedents for making fair and consistent judgments on these critical civil rights issues. When faced with a claim that they have violated a person’s civil rights, government officials typically claim qualified immunity. The test is whether they have violated “clearly established law.” Unfortunately, the federal circuits differ on whether unpublished opinions may be used in determining clearly established law. This article, Clear as Mud: How ...