The Supreme’s quietly tend to back law enforcement in rulings….

Away from the blockbuster ruling handed down in the past few months……

The US Supreme Court has upheald law enforcement  generally and turned their back on those who have been incarcerated…

The Supreme Court decided 66 cases in the usual way this last term, after full briefing and oral arguments. It also quietly issued eight other decisions.

Those rulings, more than 10 percent of the court’s docket, were brief and unsigned. Presumably meant to correct errors so glaring that they did not warrant extended consideration, they nonetheless illuminated a trend in the court’s work.

In most of them, one of two things happened. Prisoners challenging their convictions lost. Or law enforcement officials accused of wrongdoing won.

A recent article by Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt, who sits on the federal appeals court in California, connected the dots between the two kinds of cases, which do not at first glance seem to have much in common. But both turned on whether there is a precedent that “clearly established” a right to relief.

A prisoner who turns to the federal courts to challenge a state conviction must show that it was at odds with, in the words of a 1996 statute, “clearly established federal law.” A plaintiff suing over, say, a police officer’s use of excessive force must show, the Supreme Court has said, that the officer violated a “clearly established” legal right.

The Supreme Court, Judge Reinhardt wrote in The Michigan Law Review, has taken to using a narrow definition of what counts as “clearly established.” Instead of looking to general principles, he said, the court requires the prisoner or plaintiff to do something that is all but impossible in most cases: to identify a decision that concerned nearly identical factual circumstances…..


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2 thoughts on “The Supreme’s quietly tend to back law enforcement in rulings….”

  1. No surprise .

    Courts USUALLY back LE in such matters.

    Indeed rarely do actions against LE even reach the Courts.

    Generally the insurance carrier for the local jurisdictions ,usually a state fund, quickly settle any valid claims usually for relatively small amounts.

    i was involved in some of this awhile back .We frequently settled run of the mill actions for a few thousand dollars.the cost of litigation wasn’t worth it .Simply denied those without merit and they usually went away.

    Higher profile cases as we have seen are settled for much more;however ,those are the rare exceptions.

    Suing law enforcement agencies is a difficult and usually fruitless exercise.

    1. I understand
      It is Avery difficult place to be
      Even when the media blows up a situation
      Time and other factors work to the govt’s advantage
      Then there is the try to get as much as you can thing also…

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