Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Check out Steve Vladeck's new ACS issue brief, The Bivens Term: Why the Supreme Court Should Reinvigorate Damages Suits Against Federal Officers. Vladeck explains that the Court has two important Bivens cases this Term, Ziglar v. Abassi and Hernandez v. Mesa, and argues that the Court should use the opportunities to reinvigorate Bivens actions, allowing plaintiffs to sue federal officers for monetary damages for constitutional violations.
Although cases raising the scope of Bivens don't tend to generate the same headlines as those involving hot-button social issues, the more general principle of which Bivens is a critical element--that federal courts have an obligation to provide remedies for unconstitutional federal government conduct--is a bulwark of our constitutional system. Without such remedies, there would be little reason for federal officers to comply with the Constitution--especially those provisions that are least likely to be protected through the political process.