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Faculty Publications

2022

Civil Rights and Discrimination

Constitutional Torts

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Qualified Immunity, Sovereign Immunity, And Systemic Reform, Katherine Mims Crocker May 2022

Qualified Immunity, Sovereign Immunity, And Systemic Reform, Katherine Mims Crocker

Faculty Publications

Qualified immunity has become a central target of the movement for police reform and racial justice since George Floyd’s murder. And rightly so. Qualified immunity, which shields government officials from damages for constitutional violations even in many egregious cases, should have no place in federal law. But in critical respects, qualified immunity has become too much a focus of the conversation about constitutional-enforcement reform. The recent reappraisal offers unique opportunities to explore deeper problems and seek deeper solutions.

This Article argues that the public and policymakers should reconsider other aspects of the constitutional-tort system—especially sovereign immunity and related protections for …