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A Qualified Immunity Compromise Is Crumbling. You Can Thank the Law Enforcement Lobby.

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Qualified Immunity

Billy Binion | 7.16.2021 1:55 PM

Police accountability—once seldom-discussed among national politicians—has become a topic of constant conversation in Washington, D.C., as lawmakers attempt to bang out a compromise on criminal justice reform. Central to that debate is qualified immunity, a legal doctrine that makes it onerously difficult to hold government officials accountable in civil court when they violate your constitutional rights.

The doctrine was once obscure. Yet qualified immunity reform is now the flashpoint of those negotiations. After months of parleying on Capitol Hill, a compromise that once looked promising is now in jeopardy. Some Republicans are reportedly proposing an alternate option: Instead of reforming qualified immunity, they want it to be codified in the law.

Any movement on qualified immunity was seen as a nonstarter when Donald Trump was president, but a group of Republicans led by Sen. Tim Scott (R–S.C.) showed an increased willingness to work out a reform during this congressional session. While the GOP would not acquiesce to letting victims sue individual police officers, Scott........

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