Qualified immunity is a bizarre American legal doctrine that says that government officials (especially cops) that break the law aren't personally liable for their lawlessness unless the law they violate is "clearly established."

Practically speaking, it means that if a law enforcement officer breaks the law, they face no legal consequences - unless they break the law in PRECISELY the way that some other cop was convicted for - "Your honor, that other cop broke a suspect's KNEE - I broke his ELBOW."

"Professional troublemaker" @_JonCorbett is a lawyer who specializes in suing the TSA for civil rights violations, mostly due to the compulsory government genital massages they administer at airport checkpoints. He's just scored a major victory in a qualified immunity case.

Corbett's client is Dustin Dyer, who exercised his legal right to record a TSA search at Richmond International Airport. A TSA supervisor illegally ordered him to stop recording and forced him to delete his video (he was able to recover the deleted file later).

Dyer is suing the TSA and the officers, and the TSA invoked qualified immunity to get the case dismissed. Corbett argued that qualified immunity doesn't apply, and that the officers face the Bivens standard that allows monetary damages for Fourth Amendment violations.

Corbett successfully argued the point, and the judge turned down the TSA's motion. The case will now proceed to trial. Congratulations to Corbett and Dyer!


Image: Michael Righi (cropped)


ETA - If you'd like an unrolled version of this thread to read or share, here's a link to it on pluralistic.net, my surveillance-free, ad-free, tracker-free blog: pluralistic.net/2021/02/24/gwb…

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More from @doctorow

26 Feb
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Today's Twitter threads (a Twitter thread).

Inside: Against hygiene theater; Saving the planet is illegal; and more!

Archived at: pluralistic.net/2021/02/25/rin…


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Against hygiene theater: Wired: Ventilation. Tired: Handwashing. Fired: Sterilization.

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Saving the planet is illegal: Time to torch the Energy Charter Treaty.

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The ECT has just been invoked by the German polluter @RWE_AG, which is suing the Dutch government for €1.4b over a law that bans coal plants by 2030.


All told, the EU faces AT LEAST €345b in ECT liability over its climate plans. In reality, the total could be much higher, because the ECT provides for damages equal to the value of physical plant and ALL PROJECTED FUTURE PROFITS from those plants.


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A year ago, covid was a mystery. We didn't know how it spread, we didn't know who it infected, we didn't know how to treat it. All we knew was that it was spreading fast and the early epicenters were slaughterhouses.

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Simple handwashing of the sort we should have all practised all along will do the trick. You don't need to sterilize your groceries or leave your parcels to sit on your doorstep for three days. Just wash your hands!


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Today's threads (a thread).

Inside: Bossware and shitty tech adoption; EVs as distributed storage; The Mauritanian; Court rejects TSA qualified immunity; Why Brits can no longer order signed copies of my books; and more!

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This afternoon, Zeynep Tufekci and I are delivering the Mellon Sawyer Seminar on Contemporary Political Struggle: Social Movements, Social Surveillance, Social Media: ucdavis.zoom.us/webinar/regist…

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