If Americans must obey the law, the government must obey the Constitution.
Qualified immunity cases have allowed government officials to steal, maim, willfully destroy property, and even kill, all without facing any consequence for their actions. If any ordinary citizen of the United States had done these things, they would owe compensation to their victims, but qualified immunity means that government officials are often held to a shockingly lower standard, leaving their victims to suffer insult after injury.
Qualified immunity applies only in civil lawsuits—not criminal ones. But such civil suits are the only means by which individuals or their surviving family members can get compensation for the violation of constitutional rights. And prosecutors often resist bringing criminal charges against government colleagues, especially police officers who are crucial to the daily work of prosecutors.
Since the only way to enforce the Constitution is through courts, these doctrines make the Constitution an empty promise by firmly shutting the courthouse doors. But the Constitution is a promise meant to be kept. Those who take an oath to uphold it should be required to keep it. If they don’t, they should be held accountable for their actions.
To that end, IJ is dedicated to knocking down barriers to the enforcement of our nation’s most fundamental law.
Qualified immunity is a failure as a matter of policy, as a matter of law, and as a matter of basic morality. Help the Institute for Justice end qualified immunity once and for all.
The Institute for Justice is the nation's leading advocate for combating government abuse in the courts. IJ defends the rights of all Americans to earn an honest living, speak freely, keep their property, and choose the best educational options for their children—and to hold government officials accountable for violating those and other rights. We win over 70% of our cases—all at no cost to our clients.