How can I help? What can I do?
We get this question constantly, so we’ve put together a short action plan.
2. Spread the Word
- Use the sharing icons to share this site with your network.
- Share Facebook posts with your friends.
- Tag the page End Qualified Immunity (@endqi on FB, @endimmunity on Twitter & Insta) in discussions about what to do to fix this.
3. Make your voice heard
We’ve simplified this as much as possible to still be effective.
Make your voice heard
We’ll guide you step by step through the right channels to have an effective voice with your representatives. We’ve simplified this as much as possible to still be effective.
- Find your representative using Fiscal Note’s Find Your Legislator
- Scroll down to “Your Federal Officials” and check the boxes next to your Senate and House Representatives.
- Click “Compose Message”.
- Subject: Support Ending Qualified Immunity Act
- Use the Auto-Fill form below to create your personalized message to send.
- After you send, it will ask you for a phone number and a Topic. Choose Judiciary.
- Note your confirmation.
Same content as Auto-Fill letters above, just harder, for those who would rather fill them out manually.
The Honorable [FULL NAME]
Dear Representative [LAST NAME]:
My name is (Full Name), and I am writing this letter to ask that you vote in favor of the Ending Qualified Immunity Act to eliminate qualified immunity and restore Americans’ ability to obtain relief when police officers violate their constitutionally secured rights.
As part of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, Congress allowed individuals to sue state and local officials, including police officers, who violate their rights. Starting in 1967, the Supreme Court began gutting that law by inventing the doctrine of qualified immunity. Under qualified immunity, police are immune from liability unless the person whose rights they violated can show that there is a previous case in the same jurisdiction, involving the exact same facts, in which a court deemed the actions to be a constitutional violation.
This rule has sharply narrowed the situations in which police can be held liable – even for truly heinous rights violations – and it creates a disincentive to bringing cases in the first place. If a plaintiff knows there is no prior case that is identical to theirs, they may decline to even file a lawsuit because they are very unlikely to win. Even if a plaintiff does file a case, a judge may dismiss it on qualified immunity grounds and decline to decide whether the plaintiffs rights were violated, meaning the constitutional precedent still isn’t established and so the next plaintiff still can’t recover.
This can create a permanent procedural roadblock for plaintiffs, preventing them from obtaining damages for having their rights violated.
Qualified immunity was created by the Supreme Court in contravention of the text of the statute and the intent of Congress. It is time for us to correct their mistake. Justin Amash (L-MI)’s bill, the Ending Qualified Immunity Act, does this by explicitly noting in the statute that the elements of qualified immunity outlined by the Supreme Court are not a defense to liability.
The brutal killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police is merely the latest in a long line of incidents of egregious police misconduct. This pattern continues because police are legally, politically, and culturally insulated from consequences for violating the rights of the people whom they have sworn to serve. That must change so that these incidents of brutality stop happening. Until then, we must ensure that those whose rights are violated by police aren’t forced to suffer the added injustice of being denied their day in court.
We’ve setup the same letter with ResistBot. We don’t have any control over this service so we do recommend manually sending letters using the method above so you can be 100% sure your message is delivered with your personalized information.
To use this text: Sign WJOYDU to 50409