Qualified Immunity: A Debate

Nebraska Lawyers Chapter

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Created by the Supreme Court in 1967, the legal doctrine of qualified immunity shields government officials from being sued even if they violate someone’s constitutional rights, as long as they are not violating what the Court calls "clearly established law."

Proponents of qualified immunity argue that it is necessary for police officers to perform their job without the fear of being sued. Critics say that qualified immunity offers too much protection for the police and lessens their accountability.

The Federalist Society's Nebraska Lawyers Chapter hosted a zoom debate on the issue, covering points ranging from the merits of the doctrine as it is applied today to which branch of government—the Judiciary or Congress—should change it, if at all.


  • Dave Lopez, Co-President, Nebraska Lawyers Chapter
  • Trent Tanner, Co-President, Nebraska Lawyers Chapter
  • Josh Hammer, Opinion Editor at Newsweek; Of Counsel at First Liberty Institute; syndicated columnist
  • Jay Schweikert, Policy Analyst, Cato Institute's Project on Criminal Justice

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As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.