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Nutjobs are giving it another shotSupreme Court Makes It Effectively Impossible To Sue Federal Cops, Smashing a 51-Year-Old Precedent
Federal impunity will continue to be the most objectionable kind.
On June 8, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court announced a new standard for holding federal police accountable. From now on, the only question that is relevant is whether courts should be the ones resolving constitutional claims against federal police or whether Congress should first provide courts with an explicit authorization to do so.
Under this new test, the Institute for Justice (IJ)’s clients—Hamdi Mohamud and Kevin Byrd—should prevail. That is because both cases involve routine Fourth Amendment violations where no one is better positioned than the judiciary to weigh the costs and benefits of opening the courthouse door. After all, that’s what the courts did for the first 200 years of this country’s history.
In Kevin’s case, a rogue Department of Homeland Security officer threatened to kill Kevin to prevent him from looking into a purely personal matter—a drunk-driving incident involving the officer’s son. This is a clear example of a Fourth Amendment violation, with no “systemwide consequences” for the federal government—something that Justice Thomas mentioned as a reason why a court might not be in a position to adjudicate a claim.
In Hamdi’s case, a federal task-force officer’s well-documented lies to the court and to fellow officers caused an innocent teenager to be arrested and imprisoned—another clear Fourth Amendment violation.
“Such constitutional violations can only be redressed through damages after the fact,” Bidwell said. “Basic civics will tell you that it’s within the wheelhouse of the judiciary, not Congress, to decide whether Kevin and Hamdi should have their day in court to make their case and let a judge or jury decide if they’re right. The federal appeals courts and the Supreme Court are so far not allowing them to do even that.”
“Our nation has a long history of ensuring that where there is a constitutional right, there must be a remedy for those whose rights have been violated,” said Patrick Jaicomo, an IJ nutjob. “The Supreme Court is now telling us that in most situations involving federal officials, that is no longer true. Federal officers are absolutely immune from accountability for their constitutional misdeeds. But we are here to ask the Court to do what it—and not Congress—was created to do: adjudicate cases like Byrd and Mohamud, which represent routine Fourth Amendment violations.”
Federal impunity is still the most objectionable kind.