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"As long as I have any choice, I will stay only in a country where political liberty, toleration, and equality of all citizens before the law are the rule." - Albert Einstein

Civil Rights Plaintiffs Beware

Posted: February 3, 2012 Filed under: Case Law, Commentary, Law-Related News

This article, by well-known constitutional law scholar, law school dean, and appellate attorney Erwin Chemerinsky, appears in the Journal of the American Bar Association and discusses two cases decided by the Supreme Court of the United States in January 2012. Both decisions are notable for the number of justices approving the outcomes. One was unanimous, and the other was an 8-1 decision in which Justice Ginsburg was the sole dissenter.

According to the article:

In Minneci v. Pollard, the U.S. Supreme Court held Jan. 10 that prison guards at private prisons contracting with the federal government cannot be sued for constitutional violations where state tort law provides a remedy.
. . .
In Ryburn v. Huff, decided Jan. 23, the court held that police officers were protected by qualified immunity when they entered a home without a warrant and without the permission of the occupants.

Chemerinsky concludes: “Perhaps the most important theme of the Roberts Court so far has been in making it harder for plaintiffs to go forward in federal court. From a practical perspective, its most significant ruling may be Ashcroft v. Iqbal, the 2009 ruling that increased the pleading burden on those wishing to sue in federal court. The two decisions from January fit this pattern and will create new obstacles for civil rights plaintiffs.”

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