I’m often told that I need to vote for this or that presidential candidate so we can get the “right judges” on the Supreme Court.

The problem with this strategy is even the “right” federal judges aren’t going to uphold the Constitution and protect your rights. They uphold precedent – most of it bad.
The system as it exists rejects the Constitution as ratified and is set up to protect and expand the powers of government. Your rights aren’t really part of the equation.

Just look at the way federal judges apply qualified immunity, a legal doctrine created out of thin air by federal judges, and applied to the entire country by the constitutionally dubious “incorporation doctrine.”

I recently reported on a federal district court judge in Mississippi who blasted qualified immunity, calling it an “invented doctrine” to protect law enforcement officers from having to face any consequences for wrongdoing. He then proceeded to grant qualified immunity to a Mississippi cop who engaged in an illegal search, saying “this Court is required to apply the law as stated by the Supreme Court.”

Last week, we got another example of qualified immunity in action and an abusive cop walking away without any repercussions.

According to court documents, Butler County, Iowa, Sheriff’s Office Deputy Bruce Tierney kneed Charles McManemy in the face 20 to 30 times after he was already restrained by four other officers. McManemy claims the incident caused permanent damage to his eye.

This case went to the U.S. Court of Appeals Eighth Circuit. The majority of the judges on the panel agreed that Tierney violated  McManemy’s rights, but his suit “fails for a different reason: the absence of a clearly established right.”

“McManemy must point to a case that ‘squarely governs the specific facts at issue’” Circuit Judge David R. Stras wrote.

This is the standard necessary to overcome qualified immunity. And it’s nearly impossible to meet.

In qualified immunity analysis, judges must determine if it is “clearly established” that the specific use of force in a specific instance was unconstitutional. If not, the officer escapes liability.

These judges can’t help but recognize that people’s rights are being violated, but they are powerless to even hold government officials responsible for their actions. The system won’t let them. And when push comes to shove, the system has priority over your rights.

Mike Maharrey

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