As Congress Fails to End Qualified Immunity, State Activists Take Center Stage

February 1, 2022

 In early 2021, bipartisan legislative efforts to end qualified immunity and hold government officials accountable for constitutional rights violations faced a major setback after Congress failed to advance legislation. 

But the fight for reform goes on in the courts and at the state level. IJ developed model legislation for states, the Protecting Everyone’s Constitutional Rights Act, that is designed to give those whose rights have been violated access to remedies in state courts. Meanwhile, we launched Americans Against Qualified Immunity (AAQI), a grassroots, nonpartisan coalition of Americans willing to stand up and ensure that if they must follow the law, then government workers must follow the Constitution. 

The idea behind AAQI is simple but powerful: Ending qualified immunity is not a partisan or political issue but an American one. Our growing coalition of parents, religious leaders, veterans, police officers, teachers, students, coaches, and others come from different backgrounds, states, and points of view, but they are united in their belief that qualified immunity is an affront to the American idea of justice. And we are working together to convince lawmakers that they have the power to end qualified immunity in their states—without waiting for Congress to act. 

IJ and AAQI won’t stop pushing for a final, federal end to qualified immunity, but we also won’t sit back and wait for that change when we can make justice and accountability a reality one state at a time.

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