Personal Liability of Federal Officials at Issue in Supreme Court Case
Participated in an amicus brief (with the Reporters Committee and other amici) filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in Egbert v. Boule. The case hinges on the question of whether federal officials can be held personally liable for damages when they retaliate against individuals engaged in First Amendment activities. This is an issue with important consequences for members of the news media. In particular, too many federal officers have arrested or used force against reporters engaged in lawful newsgathering at recent protests, and the threat of personal liability is an indispensable deterrent against constitutional violations of this kind. The brief highlights those and other incidents of federal retaliation against the press; explains why other remedies are often unavailable or ineffective; and describes the federal courts’ track record of successfully adjudicating those claims to vindicate First Amendment values.