Protecting Everyone's Constitutional Rights: Panel on Qualified Immunity

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Qualified immunity is a doctrine invented by the Supreme Court in 1982 which protects all government officials from liability when they violate a person’s rights, even intentionally. This prevents people whose rights have been violated from seeing their day in court. The Institute for Justice is partnering with the Social Justice Law Center at Case Western Reserve University to host a panel discussion about qualified immunity, including recent efforts to end the doctrine via litigation, activism, and legislation. Speakers include:

Jonathan Adler, the Johan Verheji Memorial Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University Law School and the Director of the Coleman P. Burke Center for Environmental Law. Adler has authored or edited seven books and numerous articles, testified before congress a dozen times, and his work has been cited by the Supreme Court. He is a contributing editor to the National Review Online and a regular contributor to the legal blog the Volokh Conspiracy, where has written about, among other issues, ending qualified immunity.

Patrick Jaicomo, a Senior Attorney at the Institute for Justice. At IJ, Patrick is one of the leaders of the Project on Immunity and Accountability, through which he works to promote judicial engagement and ensure that government officials are held accountable when they violate individuals’ Constitutional rights. Patrick has litigated accountability issues across the country and at every level of the federal court system, including the Supreme Court.

Anthony Novak, who was arrested, jailed, and pressed for felony charges – all for creating a Facebook page parodying the Parma Police Department. Anthony was found not guilty, but when he tried to sue to vindicate his First Amendment right to parody, his case was thrown out when the police officers who arrested him were granted qualified immunity. Anthony appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court, which will decide whether to hear his case on February 17 – the same day he will be speaking at Case Western.…and more!

You can learn more about the campaign to abolish qualified immunity in Cleveland at

Subject Headings

qualified immunity, government employees and liability, First Amendment


Moot Courtroom (A59)

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