Governance Civil Justice
December 12th, 2022 1 Minute Read Amicus Brief by Ilya Shapiro

Amicus Brief: Glow in One Mini Golf v. Walz

This case involves a Fifth Amendment Takings Clause challenge to Minnesota governor Tim Walz’s pandemic-related business shut-down order. Before getting to that issue, however, the district court, as affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, found that Walz had qualified immunity from liability for official actions, and dismissed the case.

The lower courts were following the Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Pearson v. Callahan, which permitted courts to dismiss claims against state actors based on qualified immunity without deciding the underlying constitutional question—if the legal issues in play had not been clearly established. This maneuver creates a Catch-22 as few new legal questions are resolved and government officials get away with violating individual rights again and again.

Although MI and the Cato Institute don’t always agree on legal and policy questions pertaining qualified immunity—and broader criminal-justice issues—we agree on the need for meaningful judicial review of civil-rights claims. We thus filed a brief together expressing the shared concern that Pearson has inhibited the development of constitutional law and ought to be reconsidered.


Ilya Shapiro is a senior fellow and director of Constitutional Studies at the Manhattan Institute. Follow him on Twitter here.


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