The Conservative Case against Qualified Immunity

Congressional Republicans have taken some puzzling positions over the past few years, one of which is their near-uniform opposition to reforming qualified immunity, a judge-made doctrine that routinely shields rights-violating police and other government officials from accountability for their misconduct. Notwithstanding Republicans’ partial policy makeover, their embrace of qualified immunity is a particularly odd stance for proponents of an ostensibly conservative ideology that espouses personal responsibility, limited government, and the proposition that judges should apply the law rather than making it up themselves. As explained below, qualified immunity is utterly antithetical to every one of those values.