Nonprofits to Congress: End QI

Seventeen nonprofits call on Congress to end qualified immunity (QI). Recently, a group of 17 nonprofits wrote an open letter to federal lawmakers. This letter demands greater government accountability. The Campaign to End Qualified Immunity (CTEQI) is one of the 17 nonprofits. Other nonprofits include the Institute for Justice (IJ), Cato Institute, the Innocence Project, and the Black Police Experience. (These organizations are also CTEQI partners.)

“Following the end of the Civil War,” the letter begins, “Congress enacted Section 1983 to enforce the guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment and ensure that government officials

would be held accountable when they acted unlawfully.” But, the letter continues, the Supreme Court “fundamentally undermined” Section 1983. The Court did this by creating the doctrine of qualified immunity. 

The 17 nonprofits’ open letter also notes another issue. The Supreme Court has “imposed stiff barriers to holding government employers liable” for the violations committed by their employees. These barriers, the letter states, “exacerbates the harms of qualified immunity.”

“It is long past time for Congress to take action to fix the Supreme Court’s mistake,” the letter says. And Congress can do this by ending qualified immunity and strengthening government accountability. 

In their open letter to Congress, the nonprofits outline three “reasonable and meaningful reforms.” These reforms are:

  • End qualified immunity for all government officials, not just bad cops.
  • Hold federal officials to the same standards as state and local ones.
  • Mandate that government employers and contractors be liable for any constitutional violations committed by their employees.

Along with these nonprofits, groups that have sent open letters calling on Congress to end QI include business leaders, artists, and athletes. 

Read the nonprofits’ open letter calling on Congress to end QI here.