Patterico's Pontifications

6/6/2020

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:33 am



[guest post by Dana]

Here are a few news items that caught my eye. Please feel free to post any other news items that you think might interest readers.

First news item

NYT opinion editor James Bennet says paper solicited op-ed from Tom Cotton because of his tweets:

When asked about the senator’s claim that the Times approached him to write the op-ed, Bennet admitted that the opinion page had seen Cotton’s tweets on the subject and “we did ask if he could stand up that argument. I’m not sure we suggested that topic to him but we did invite the piece.”

Bennet didn’t read the op-ed before publication:

When asked why he did not personally read Cotton’s column before publishing it, Bennet said it was “another part of the process that broke down.” He added, “I should have been involved in signing off on the piece… I should have read it and signed off.”

Second news item

Justifying one, not the other: George Floyd protests called for social distancing, protests to reopen economy did not:

…some commentators, inside and outside of public health, are questioning the wisdom of these anti-racist protests, concerned they will increase the spread of COVID-19 and worsen existing racial, ethnic and economic inequities in COVID-19 deaths. Some even compare these risks to those posed by the anti-lockdown protests against COVID-19 regulations.

As public health professionals with expertise in infectious disease epidemiology, social epidemiology and public health and clinical practice, we categorically reject these false equivalencies.

Protesters are in the streets demonstrating against police brutality and white supremacy not because they are indifferent to the risk of COVID-19. They are doing what they can to protect themselves and their communities precisely because the institutions that are supposed to protect and serve them have been killing black people in this country far longer than the coronavirus has.

Third news item

Reporting from protest in Utah:

Fourth news item

GOP convention woes:

…Now, after a high-stakes and public feud with Democratic officials in a state he won four years ago, Mr. Trump and the Republican National Committee are moving to largely shift convention proceedings, including the president’s acceptance speech on the final night, out of Charlotte. After a call with the R.N.C., state chairmen officially told delegates that they should hold off on purchasing airline tickets to Charlotte for the late-August event.

How the convention unraveled two years after Charlotte was selected is the story of an uneasy partnership between Republican officials and mostly Democratic leaders in North Carolina; a president who coveted a coronation and delivered an unyielding imperative to the state’s governor; and the extraordinary disruption from a global pandemic that transformed public life in the country. Once it became clear that health concerns over the coronavirus threatened the possibility of a full-throated celebration for the president, the fragile alliance buckled under the weight of partisan acrimony.

Fifth news item

Barr begs to differ, says he didn’t give order to clear protesters:

Attorney General William Barr says law enforcement officers were already moving to push back protesters from a park in front of the White House when he arrived there Monday evening, and he says he did not give a command to disperse the crowd, though he supported the decision.

Barr insisted there was no connection between the heavy-handed crackdown on the protesters and Trump’s walk soon after to St. John’s Church. The attorney general said he had learned in the afternoon that Trump wanted to go outside, and said that when he went to the White House in the evening, he learned of the president’s intended destination.

Sixth news item

Door closing on hydroxychloroquine as Covid-19 treatment?:

major clinical trial showed the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine had no benefit for patients hospitalized with Covid-19, likely closing the door to the use of the highly publicized medicine in the sickest patients — a use for which it was widely prescribed as the pandemic hit the U.S.

The results come from a study called RECOVERY, funded by the U.K. government, that sought to randomly assign large numbers of patients to multiple potential treatments in the country’s National Health Service. The goal was to rapidly get answers as to what worked and what didn’t.

“Today’s preliminary results from the RECOVERY trial are quite clear – hydroxychloroquine does not reduce the risk of death among hospitalized patients with this new disease,” University of Oxford epidemiologist Martin Landray, one of the study’s leaders, said in a statement. “This result should change medical practice worldwide and demonstrates the importance of large, randomized trials to inform decisions about both the efficacy and the safety of treatments.”

Have a good weekend.

–Dana

6/5/2020

Public Protests And Health Risks During Pandemic

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:09 pm



[guest post by Dana]

In light of the George Floyd protests, some public health officials have changed their minds about Americans being outdoors in large groups during the pandemic:

For months, public health experts have urged Americans to take every precaution to stop the spread of Covid-19—stay at home, steer clear of friends and extended family, and absolutely avoid large gatherings.

Now some of those experts are broadcasting a new message: It’s time to get out of the house and join the mass protests against racism.

It’s a message echoed by media outlets and some of the most prominent public health experts in America, like former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Tom Frieden, who loudly warned against efforts to rush reopening but is now supportive of mass protests. Their claim: If we don’t address racial inequality, it’ll be that much harder to fight Covid-19. There’s also evidence that the virus doesn’t spread easily outdoors, especially if people wear masks.

The experts maintain that their messages are consistent—that they were always flexible on Americans going outside, that they want protesters to take precautions and that they’re prioritizing public health by demanding an urgent fix to systemic racism.

But their messages are also confounding to many who spent the spring strictly isolated on the advice of health officials, only to hear that the need might not be so absolute after all. It’s particularly nettlesome to conservative skeptics of the all-or-nothing approach to lockdown, who point out that many of those same public health experts—a group that tends to skew liberal—widely criticized activists who held largely outdoor protests against lockdowns in April and May, accusing demonstrators of posing a public health danger. Conservatives, who felt their own concerns about long-term economic damage or even mental health costs of lockdown were brushed aside just days or weeks ago, are increasingly asking whether these public health experts are letting their politics sway their health care recommendations.

“Their rules appear ideologically driven as people can only gather for purposes deemed important by the elite central planners,” Brian Blase, who worked on health policy for the Trump administration, told me…

Some members of the medical community acknowledged they’re grappling with the U-turn in public health advice, too. “It makes it clear that all along there were trade-offs between details of lockdowns and social distancing and other factors that the experts previously discounted and have now decided to reconsider and rebalance,” said Jeffrey Flier, the former dean of Harvard Medical School. Flier pointed out that the protesters were also engaging in behaviors, like loud singing in close proximity, which CDC has repeatedly suggested could be linked to spreading the virus.

“At least for me, the sudden change in views of the danger of mass gatherings has been disorienting, and I suspect it has been for many Americans,” he told me.

Health officials who have deemed this cause to be worth a potential health risk, yet deemed protesting to open the economy and getting back to work as not worthy of a potential health risk, have lost a tremendous amount of credibility. By making a determination that one cause is more worthy than the other, renders judgment against Americans based not upon health concerns, but based upon an ideological one instead. Why would we trust them with future decisions about public health risks?

Given protesters’ close proximity to one another and the number of unmasked protesters, it’s not unreasonable to think that we will see an increased rate of infection. Also, given the large number of black people involved in these protests, it also seems likely that, if there is an outbreak, an already hard-hit community will experience a surge over the next few weeks. Howard Koh, former assistant secretary for health during the Obama administration, says that he supports the protests but recognizes the dangers of Covid-19 spreading rapidly: “We know that a low-risk area today can become a high-risk area tomorrow.”

Obviously, people across the nation believe that publicly protesting the murder of George Floyd and the problem of racial injustice outweighs any risk of becoming infected (or infecting others). Health officials are recommending that protesters self-quarantine for two weeks after coming back from a protest rally. Some public health departments are also recommending that protesters get tested for Covid-19 no later than 5-7 days after the event – even if they don’t feel sick or show symptoms.

The report leaves health experts with this question: “I think what’s lost on people is that there have been real sacrifices made during lockdown. People who couldn’t bury loved ones. Small businesses destroyed. How can a health expert look those people in the eye and say it was worth it now?”

(Of course, rallies are held outside in open spaces, which experts say poses less risk of infection than when a large group is indoors in a limited, enclosed space.)

Back in April when many Americans were publicly gathering at rallies to push for the economy to re-open, the protesters took a lot of heat for gathering during a pandemic. I was one of those critics. My objection wasn’t that they were protesting, it was the fact that they were doing so without observing social distancing measures (six foot distance from neighbor and wearing a face mask). I feel the same way about today’s protesters. If you want to protest, have at it. But at the very least, wear a mask, and try to keep a safe distance from your neighbor. As I said back in April:

… while I appreciate a healthy wariness of government overreach where civil liberties are concerned, and inconsistent foolishness from some governors, this does not change the fact that we are facing a highly contagious virus that doesn’t care about principles, political persuasions, personal philosophies, or anything that one might claim takes priority over practicing reasonable safety measures. We are not being compelled to permanently modify our behaviors. We are being asked to temporarily modify our behavior in order to help prevent further transmission of a deadly virus which is highly contagious and has wreaked havoc across the nation in a very short period of time. And it’s the sort of highly contagious virus that requires everyone to hold the line. Six feet apart and a mask when out in public. How is that a big deal? No matter what you think of government or social distancing orders put in place to help minimize the spread of the disease, let me ask you, why the isn’t your family, or your neighbor worth the extra effort?

Here are comments from Dr. Fauci regarding the protests and public health risk:

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, called it a “delicate balance.”

“The reasons for demonstrating are valid, yet the demonstration itself puts one at an additional risk,” Fauci said Friday in an interview with WTOP.

Fauci said not only is it a risk to have protesters gathered in proximity to one another, the nature of demonstrations presents a health risk because people chant and yell with their mouths uncovered.

There have also been instances of protesters coughing on each other after police deployed irritants, such as tear gas or pepper spray.

“I get very concerned, as do my colleagues in public health, when they see these kinds of crowds,” Fauci said. “There certainly is a risk. I can say that with confidence.”

Compounding the risk, especially in the D.C. area, is the fact that the protests are happening in places where the coronavirus was spreading at a significant rate before the mass protests started.

“It’s a perfect setup for further spread of the virus in the sense of creating these blips which might turn into some surges,” Fauci said.

If Fauci had one piece of advice for someone who plans to go out and protest, it would be to wear a mask and keep it on the entire time.

“I’ve seen on TV, as the demonstrations heat up, people might take their masks off,” he said. “You might have situations where you would foster the spread of infection and that’s really of concern.”

–Dana

Food for Thought on a Friday

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



Happy Friday!

6/4/2020

Trump To Law Enforcement: Do Better, People!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:51 pm



[guest post by Dana]

President Trump was interviewed yesterday by Fox News personality Brian Kilmeade. When asked about how the President would change things, with regard to law enforcement and the killing of George Lloyd, Trump said…well…you can read below what he said:

KILMEADE: So you have a pandemic and a national unrest. Two unprecedented things that I would argue in my lifetime and probably yours. But the big picture I thought we would be talking about the day after George Floyd’s tragic death, which I think you agree it seems that law enforcement — you don’t want to convict someone before they have trial. But 96 percent of the country thinks that was out of bounds — the knee on the neck killed him.

I’m one of them. Again wait (ph) to see where the trial comes out. But this is the one stat I’m going to bring you to, and I’m going to ask you if could attack this.

According to a Axios-Ipsos poll, 70 percent of white Americans say they trust the local police. Only 36 percent of African-Americans do. How do you attack that problem? How do you change things?

TRUMP: Well I think it’s a very sad problem. As you know as a Republican I’m doing very well with African-Americans and with the vote with the — in polls and everything — especially I mean I haven’t seen one very recently because you had the plague come in from China.

So that changed things up, but we had the best economy ever. We had the best numbers for African-American on employment and unemployment in history. Best homeownership — best everything. We had the best numbers in everything — not only African-American, but the African-American numbers were great.

KILMEADE: How do you handle the law enforcement part?

TRUMP: Well I think you have to get better.

KILMEADE: How do you handle the law enforcement part of this?

TRUMP: They have to get better than what they’ve been doing. I mean obviously that was a terrible thing. And I’ve spoken about it numerous times in various speeches.

And what’s interesting is I spoke about it when we launched a very successful rocket — a tremendous program that culminated on that day and obviously it goes on from there.

But I then made a speech and it was a speech about the rocket, and I devoted 25 percent of the speech probably to what happened — or more — to what happened with respect to George — George Floyd, and it was — and then you listen to this, he doesn’t talk about George Floyd. The rocket went off, I then I made a speech, and I talked about George Floyd, but they said he didn’t talk about George Floyd.

Half — maybe even almost half of the speech, but a large portion of the speech was devoted exactly to that. And so, you know, with — with the media you basically — and basically no matter what you do, it’s never going to be good enough. But the people understand it.

KILMEADE: Right.

TRUMP: And that’s one of the beauties of social media. I mean, I would love not to even bother with social media, but I’m able to get my word out beautifully by social media fortunately. You use social media too.

KILMEADE: Right, also —

TRUMP: But we have to get the word out. Look, we have to — Brian, we have to get the police departments, everybody has to do better, has to do better. This is a long-term problem. This didn’t happen today.

This happened — I mean, a guy like Sleepy Joe Biden was in there for 43 years, and he says, I think we should do this, I saw today, he took his mask off for the first time in a while, I haven’t seen his face for a long time. And he said, I think we should do this, or I think we should do that.

And actually then he started speaking through the mask again. He feels comfortable with the mask on I think, and — even though there was nobody anywhere near him, which is interesting, but he made a statement about what he should do. I said, he’s been there for 43 years, he was vice president for 8 years, he didn’t do a thing. His crime bill was a disaster.

–Dana

NYT Times Staffers Upset Over Publication of Sen. Cotton’s Op-Ed (Update Added)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:06 pm



[guest post by Dana]

New York Times staffers objected to the media outlet publishing Sen. Tom Cotton’s op-ed yesterday. In the essay, Cotton called for a military response to protesters:

Here is what Trish Hall, the former Op-Ed and Sunday Review editor, has said about submitting an op-ed to the NYT at the paper’s How to submit an Op-Ed essay page here:

Anything can be an Op-Ed. Personal or explanatory essays, commentary on news events, reflections on cultural trends and more are all welcome. We’re interested in anything well-written with a fact-based viewpoint we believe readers will find worthwhile.

The Editorial page editor also responded to the outcry, and justified the decision to publish the essay. [Ed. The opening sentence comes as no surprise...]:

*It is not unusual for right-leaning opinion articles in The Times to attract criticism. This time, the outcry from readers, Times staff members and alumni of the paper was strong enough to draw an online defense of the essay’s publication from James Bennet, the editorial page editor.

“Times Opinion owes it to our readers to show them counter-arguments, particularly those made by people in a position to set policy,” Mr. Bennet wrote in a thread on Twitter. “We understand that many readers find Senator Cotton’s argument painful, even dangerous. We believe that is one reason it requires public scrutiny and debate.”

Don’t we want to know what our elected officials think? I certainly do! How else do we hold them accountable?

Certainly everyone has a right to voice their disapproval of anything in the NYT. But if staffers (and readers are so offended), then maybe sit down and put all of that thought and passion into writing a robust and persuasive rebuttal for publication. This is the beauty of an Op-Ed page. Protest Cotton’s essay all you want, but do not demand that the paper refuse to publish an “opinion” piece about which you strenuously disagree. If a publication claims to be committed to publishing “anything” that is well-written, then have at it. More speech is the correct answer, not less, and certainly not less because it offends you.

[Ed. Was there this same level of staff outrage when the New York Times ran an op-ed in February by Sirajuddin Haqqani, the deputy leader of the Taliban?]

Consider this a thread to also discuss the substance of Cotton’s essay linked above.

JVW pointed me to this thread by NYT op-ed writer Bari Weiss responding to the Cotton op-ed kerfuffle: full here. (Note: JVW disagreed with her last comment below, and responded to her on Twitter:

The civil war inside The New York Times between the (mostly young) wokes the (mostly 40+) liberals is the same one raging inside other publications and companies across the country. The dynamic is always the same.

The Old Guard lives by a set of principles we can broadly call civil libertarianism. They assumed they shared that worldview with the young people they hired who called themselves liberals and progressives. But it was an incorrect assumption.

The New Guard has a different worldview, one articulated best by @JonHaidt and @glukianoff. They call it “safetyism,” in which the right of people to feel emotionally and psychologically safe trumps what were previously considered core liberal values, like free speech.

Perhaps the cleanest example of this dynamic was in 2018, when David Remnick, under tremendous public pressure from his staffers, disinvited Steve Bannon from appearing on stage at the New Yorker Ideas Festival. But there are dozens and dozens of examples.

I’ve been mocked by many people over the past few years for writing about the campus culture wars. They told me it was a sideshow. But this was always why it mattered: The people who graduated from those campuses would rise to power inside key institutions and transform them.

I’m in no way surprised by what has now exploded into public view. In a way, it’s oddly comforting: I feel less alone and less crazy trying to explain the dynamic to people. What I am shocked by is the speed. I thought it would take a few years, not a few weeks.

Here’s one way to think about what’s at stake: The New York Times motto is “all the news that’s fit to print.” One group emphasizes the word “all.” The other, the word “fit.”

W/r/t Tom Cotton’s oped and the choice to run it: I agree with our critics that it’s a dodge to say “we want a totally open marketplace of ideas!” There are limits. Obviously. The question is: does his view fall outside those limits? Maybe the answer is yes.

If the answer is yes, it means that the view of more than half of Americans are unacceptable. And perhaps they are.

(Weiss then links to this: A plurality of Democrats would support calling in the U.S. military to aid police during protests, poll shows

UPDATE: The New York Times caves:

While I understand that the NYT makes necessary editorial decisions on a regular basis, readers deserve to know the standards that Cotton’s op-ed did not meet. Also, we need to know who was responsible for the alleged “rushed editorial process”. It’s a bit odd that, all of a sudden management decided that it was rushed. If management cannot provide these details, readers can only assume that they have caved to pressure from offended readers and staffers. This isn’t a good message for a major media outlet to send, especially after making the lofty assertion that the “Times Opinion owes it to our readers to show them counter-arguments, particularly those made by people in a position to set policy.” How foolish to back pedal, but how much more foolish to withhold op-eds by those wielding power in the nation. If we do not have access to their thoughts and arguments via an essay explaining in detail where they are at on a specific issue at any particular time, how are we to hold them accountable? How do we hold their feet to the fire, or demonstrate our support? If the Cotton essay hadn’t run, would it have run elsewhere? Would that outlet have the reach that the NYT does? Would we know in such detail, his view that we need for some kind of military intervention? Are Americans so deathly afraid of a countering view that one of the most powerful media outlets on the planet is deferring to them, and opting out of giving us the opportunity to judge for ourselves? If I can’t know the specifics of how Cotton’s essay did not meet already established standards, and judge for myself, I cannot give them the benefit of the doubt in this.

Further, expanding fact-checking can be a good move. But it is not good to curtail the number of opinion pieces because of fear of offending staffers and readers. It is not good to refrain from publishing pieces because they go against the politics of the majority of readers and staffers, who obviously skew left*. More speech, not less speech. Given the scope of reach of the NYT, it’s just a shame that they have chosen to limit what we can read, and what we can learn from those in positions of power. Of course they are free to do what they want with the publication. I just wish they would stick to a consistent message.

–Dana

2nd Update:

The Secret Service Knew, and the Park Police Account Is Bull– Er, “Nonsense”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



Jay Caruso at the Washington Examiner has a useful piece that shows that the Park Police are lying when they claim they weren’t clearing out protestors for the President’s tawdry little photo op:

Officers of the Park Police also said that they didn’t know the president was going to walk to the church and that they began moving protesters out of the park in advance of the 7:00 p.m. citywide curfew because protesters started throwing items at them. My colleague, Timothy Carney, was there and didn’t witness anyone throwing anything at officers until after they began to move people out of the area.

I spoke with a former Secret Service agent who worked the presidential detail and used a very colorful metaphor to describe the Park Police comments. But let’s say this source said the excuse was “nonsense.”

According to the former agent, the area in front of the White House is tricky when it comes to jurisdiction. The asphalt of Pennsylvania Avenue is controlled, technically, by the Metropolitan Police Department. The sidewalks and the park are under the Park Police. The uniformed division of the Secret Service creates the zone of protection necessary whenever the president steps outside the White House.

All coordination of different law enforcement agencies goes through the Joint Operation Command Center of the Secret Service. The former agent said clearing Lafayette Square and the Pennsylvania Avenue area in front of the White House is a relatively routine event. A misplaced tourist backpack can get the area cleared. When it happens, it is all run through the command center, ensuring that all law enforcement agencies get notified.

The Secret Service has the legal authority to set up zones of protection. The agency creates the zone, and anyone entering that area without authorization is subject to fines and possible imprisonment. What that simply means is that wherever the president goes in the United States, the Secret Service determines, under federal law, what area gets cleared out.

We already knew they were lying but this puts more meat on the bone in a substantial way.

6/3/2020

Mattis Rips Trump in Statement

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:35 pm



This speaks for itself:

When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.

. . . Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict— between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part.

. . . .

Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.

Wow.

AG To Announce Upgraded Charges Against Chauvin, Three Other Officers To Face Charges In George Floyd Killing (Update Added)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:25 am



[guest post by Dana]

The announcement is supposed to be made later today:

Attorney General Keith Ellison plans to elevate charges against the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck while adding charges of aiding and abetting murder against the other three officers at the scene, according to multiple law enforcement sources familiar with the case.

Ellison is expected to provide an update this afternoon on the state’s investigation into Floyd’s death. According to sources, former officer Derek Chauvin, recorded on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he begged for air on May 25, will now be charged with second-degree murder.

The other three officers at the scene — Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane — will also be charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder, according to the sources, who spoke on conditions of anonymity. Chauvin was arrested last Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

The upgraded charges raise the maximum sentence from 25 years behind bars to 40 years behind bars.

I’ll update the post after Ellison makes the official announcement.

–Dana

UPDATE:

The three officers, Thomas Lane, 37, J. Alexander Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34, were charged with aiding and abetting murder, court records show. Mr. Kueng was in custody on Wednesday, county jail records showed. The authorities said they were in the process of arresting Mr. Lane and Mr. Thao.

The fourth officer, Derek Chauvin, 44, who was arrested last week, faces an increased charge of second-degree murder.

Mr. Thao had faced six prior misconduct complaints in his career with the Minneapolis Police Department. He also was the subject of a lawsuit that claimed he and another officer punched, kicked and kneed an African-American man, leaving the man with broken teeth and bruises. A lawyer involved in the case said that the city settled the case by agreeing to pay $25,000.

Mr. Chauvin had faced at least 17 misconduct complaints over nearly two decades with the department.

Neither Mr. Lane nor Mr. Kueng had prior misconduct complaints filed against them, according to the police department.

“Trying this case will not be an easy thing,” [Keith Ellison] said. “Winning a conviction will be hard.”

He also called on protesters to continue peaceful demonstrations and to work toward more lasting change.

“The very fact we have filed these charges means we have believed in them,” Mr. Ellison said. “But what I do not believe is that one successful prosecution can rectify the hurt and loss that so many people feel.”

Justin Amash To Introduce Qualified Immunity Act

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:09 am



[guest post by Dana]

Over the past few days, we’ve been discussing the possibility of eliminating qualified immunity, and what that might look like. Here is what Amash is introducing:

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 plaintiff’s 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.

My 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.

–Dana

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I agree with Amash on many things but completely eliminating qualified immunity is not one of them. I understand his position is popular on the Internet — indeed, supporting law enforcement is not popular, because radical leftists are anti-law enforcement, and our criminal president has undermined respect for the rule of law on the right. But it is not immediately clear to me that it is a good idea to force police officers to defend themselves against claims that fail to establish they unreasonably violated a clearly established constitutional right. The doctrine might need some reining in. It should not be eliminated.

6/2/2020

The Protest/Riots Summed Up in One Video

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:05 pm



[guest post by JVW]

I have found the recent news highly depressing to say the least, so I’ve purposefully avoided making much comment on it because there is so much to say yet none of us seem to be all that willing to hear out all sides. But I think the video embedded in the tweet below perfectly encapsulates what we have seen since the end of last week. [Warning: coarse language alert, and it looks like this might be one of those videos that won’t play in the tweet embed, so just click through to the actual tweet. Thanks Colonel Haiku for the heads-up.]

I’ll leave it at that.

– JVW

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