Separate from the majority of our coding, we hand coded supplemental information about a random sample of qualified immunity opinions with First Amendment claims. Unlike with the bulk of our coding, we did not use the resulting data for building or evaluating predictive algorithms. Instead, we directly analyzed the data and incorporated the results into our study beginning here.
First Amendment Violation Type (Categorical Response): What type of First Amendment violation was alleged? (If multiple First Amendment violations were alleged in the appeal, we selected all of the categories below that were applicable.)
Retaliation: The defendants were alleged to have engaged in premeditated retaliation against the plaintiffs in response to the plaintiffs’ exercise of a protected First Amendment right. Critically, there must have been temporal separation between the protected activity and the retaliatory action, such that no “split-second” decision-making was involved. 1
Targeting of Private Citizen: Government officials retaliated against a private citizen in response to protected First Amendment conduct.
Employment Retaliation: A government employee suffered adverse employment consequences in response to protected First Amendment activity.
Prison Retaliation: A prisoner or detainee was subjected to retaliatory action in response to protected First Amendment activity.
Miscellaneous Retaliation: Any First Amendment retaliation that did not fit into one of the subcategories above.
Direct Restriction on Speech/Association/Assembly: The defendants were alleged to have acted to directly restrict the plaintiffs from exercising a First Amendment right (e.g., a plaintiff who was arrested for protesting, a plaintiff who was arrested for filming the police, a plaintiff who was arrested during a city council meeting). (Note: There were no subcategories for this category.)
Direct Restriction on Religious Liberty: The defendants were alleged to have prohibited the plaintiffs from practicing their religion.
Prison: The plaintiffs were prevented from freely practicing their religion in prison.
Religious Discrimination: Non-prison plaintiffs were discriminated against for religious reasons.
Miscellaneous Religious Liberty: Any direct restrictions on religious liberty that did not fit into one of the subcategories above.
Other: Any First Amendment violations that did not neatly fit into one of the categories above.
Government Position of Defendant (Open Ended): What were the job titles/positions of the government officialssued?
We coded the following fields only if the appeal involved a retaliation claim.
Protected First Amendment Activity (Open Ended): What was the protected First Amendment activity that the plaintiffs alleged subjected them to retaliation? (If not a retaliation claim, we marked this as N/A.)
Retaliatory Action (Open Ended): What were the retaliatory acts allegedly undertaken by the defendants in response to the protected First Amendment activity? (If not a retaliation claim, we marked this as N/A.)
We coded the following field only if the appeal involved an employment retaliation claim.
Police Plaintiff (Y/N): Were any of the plaintiffs in the appeal police officers?