About the Institute for Justice
IJ is a nonprofit, public interest law firm. Our mission is to end widespread abuses of government power and secure the constitutional rights that allow all Americans to pursue their dreams.
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.
Support IJ client Jerry Johnson and others like him by making a gift
Your tax-deductible contribution helps IJ fight for ordinary people who want to pursue their American Dream but find the government standing in their way. We stand with our clients no matter how long their cases take—and we win nearly 75% of the time.
Our Issue Areas
Project on Immunity and Accountability
Qualified immunity and other legal doctrines let government workers violate constitutional rights with impunity. IJ works to eliminate these barriers to accountability.
IJ’s Project on the 4th Amendment
Every American is now at risk of government searches, seizures, and surveillance. IJ defends vital rights to privacy and security.
Unlike criminal forfeiture, which takes property from convicted criminals, civil forfeiture does not require property owners to be convicted of a crime—or even charged with one—to permanently lose their cash, cars, businesses or even their homes.
All individuals have the right to produce, advertise, sell, procure, and consume the foods of their choice. IJ ensures they can use these rights to provide for themselves, their families, and their communities.