Featured Report


When people hear “qualified immunity,” they tend to think “police misconduct.” But IJ’s qualified immunity cases frequently involve other types of officials and allegations. Now a new IJ study of more than 5,500 federal qualified immunity appeals shows those cases aren’t outliers. Unaccountable finds only 23% of appeals involved police accused of excessive force. Police often claimed qualified immunity, of course, but so did social workers, college deans, mayors, and many other government officials. And the violations victims alleged were similarly diverse, with almost 20% of appeals featuring First Amendment claims, usually premeditated retaliation for disfavored speech or other protected activity. Unaccountable finds qualified immunity hobbles victims of government abuses like these and fails to accomplish the goals supporters claim it’s needed to achieve, strengthening the case for ending the doctrine.

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