As James King’s case illustrates, IJ’s new Project on Immunity and Accountability is already bearing fruit. Meanwhile, the high court is still considering our petition on behalf of Shaniz West, whose house was destroyed when local authorities bombarded it with grenades and then relied on qualified immunity to evade accountability.
And James and Shaniz are not alone. Since IJ launched our initiative, we have taken up the case of the Lech family of Colorado, whose house was also destroyed by local government. In the Lechs’ case, a shoplifter who was fleeing local police broke into their home, seemingly at random, to take refuge. The authorities decided that the most efficient way to get the shoplifter out would be to remove the things he was hiding behind: the four walls of the Lech home.
Later, rather than offer to compensate the innocent family for the damage done, the town government claimed that the Constitution’s Takings Clause, which requires the government to provide compensation when it takes or destroys private property, does not apply whenever the government is using its “police power.” This argument is as sweeping as it is wrong, and IJ has taken on the Lechs’ case to ensure that local governments cannot destroy private property with impunity.
With these cases—and more to come—IJ is ensuring that the Constitution’s promise of individual rights is enforced in the real world.