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Journal Articles

Fourth Amendment

2016

Qualified immunity

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The Supreme Court's Quiet Expansion Of Qualified Immunity, Kit Kinports Jan 2016

The Supreme Court's Quiet Expansion Of Qualified Immunity, Kit Kinports

Journal Articles

This Essay discusses the Supreme Court’s tendency in recent opinions to covertly expand the reach of the qualified immunity defense available to public officials in § 1983 civil rights suits. In particular, the Essay points out that the Court, often in per curiam rulings, has described qualified immunity in increasingly broad terms and has qualified and retreated from its precedents, without offering any explanation or even acknowledging that it is deviating from past practice.

In making this claim, I focus on three specific issues: the manner in which the Court characterizes the standard governing the qualified immunity defense; the question …