The Federalist Society stands in solidarity with our Black colleagues at Cornell Law School and with the Black community at large.  The recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black individuals at the hands of law enforcement are appalling. Furthermore, the states’ and federal government’s use of excessive force against peaceful protestors is both disturbing and unconstitutional. In times like these, it is essential that our government respect our Constitutional rights, most importantly “the right of the people to peaceably assemble.” 

Instead of reiterating the excellent resources already provided by other organizations, we want to highlight one potential solution that will work to nurture a more just law enforcement regime: eradicating Qualified Immunity defenses for law enforcement.

As many of you are well aware, it is extremely difficult for victims to bring 1983 claims (“constitutional tort claims”) against police officers due to the judge-made doctrine of qualified immunity. Qualified Immunity leaves countless victims, who have been deprived of their life, liberty, and property, without any recourse against those police officers who unconstitutionally harmed them. We applaud those organizations fighting in the courts to scrap this defense and calling for a return to the written text of 1983, which holds that no person is above the law. 

We’ve attached some resources if you would like to read more about qualified immunity, including recent challenges against it.

Baude, William, Is Qualified Immunity Unlawful, 106 Cal. L. Rev. 45 (2018) (attached)


The Federalist Society

Cornell Law Chapter