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The right to sue and defend in the courts of the several states are essential privileges of citizenship. Eight generations ago, this right was unavailable to black people, because descendants of African slaves were never intended to be citizens. Then, and for years to come, local governments failed to protect African Americans from violence and discrimination and were sometimes complicit in those violations.

Qualified immunity was born in 1982 when the Supreme Court decided Harlow v. Fitzgerald. With an outflow of questionable court decisions shielding officers solely because they act under color of state law, it is time for the Supreme Court to reconsider the path that qualified immunity has created. Only then, can the original purposes of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 be arguably vindicated.

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Journal of the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association



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Monroe v. Pape, Pearson v. Callahan, Ashcroft v. al-Kidd, Harlow v. Fitzgerald, Pierson v. Ray, Myers v. Anderson



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