Qualified Immunity Splits House and Senate
Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.
House Democrats and Senate Republicans are putting together competing packages of legislation on law enforcement reform. A key sticking point has emerged: what to do about qualified immunity.
House Democrats want to end qualified immunity – which shields government officials, including law enforcement– from lawsuits. Senate Republicans don’t support the idea.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who is leading the Senate Republicans legislative efforts, said he doesn’t see items like qualified immunity reform “get to the finish line.”
Texas Sen. John Cornyn added:
“It’s a tough job under any set of circumstances and to have lawsuits filed which sort of flyspeck what you did or didn’t do at a time when you didn’t know whether you know, somebody is trying to kill you or not. … I think you need that sort of balancing of interests that qualified immunity provides,” Cornyn said.
Qualified immunity is the creation of judicial activism. Initially intended to prevent frivolous lawsuits, it’s become a broad legal shield that prevents bad cops from being held accountable for their actions.
The Supreme Court may yet tackle the issue, as several cases relating to qualified immunity are awaiting action. According to The Hill, “Justices Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor have both voiced skepticism about [qualified immunity].
Image Credit: By St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons