The Ice Blog

by Ice

Immunity?

U.S. Supreme Court

OWEN v. CITY OF INDEPENDENCE, 445 U.S. 622 (1980)

445 U.S. 622

OWEN v. CITY OF INDEPENDENCE, MISSOURI, ET AL.
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT.

No. 78-1779.

Argued January 8, 1980.
Decided April 16, 1980.

 Held:

A municipality has no immunity from liability under 1983 flowing from its constitutional violations and may not assert the good faith of its officers as a defense to such liability. Pp. 635-658.

While reading the above, Owen v. City of Independence, I ran across a footnote that I found particularly interesting.

The footnote indicates that all public servants, elected or appointed, are liable for error when violating a citizens rights under Federal Law. Here, in Footnote 25, we have a unique opinion that makes even LEGISLATORS liable.

[Footnote 25] See, e. g., Globe 305 (remarks of Rep. Arthur) (“But if the Legislature enacts a law, if the Governor enforces it, if the judge upon the bench renders a judgment, if the sheriff levy an execution, execute a writ, serve a summons, or make an arrest, all acting under a solemn, official oath, [445 U.S. 622, 644]   though as pure in duty as a saint and as immaculate as a seraph, for a mere error in judgment, they are liable. . .”); id., at 385 (remarks of Rep. Lewis); Globe App. 217 (remarks of Sen. Thurman).

Do you see it? “But if the Legislature enacts a law…” and all that follows… “THEY ARE LIABLE.”

Here is a remedy for every bad law, every encroachment made and liberty stolen. If we hold them liable for what they have done and seek restitution … we may be able to roll back their ever advancing infringement on our rights which are guaranteed by the Supreme Law of the Land: The Constitution.

The public servants that believe they have immunity because they are following some “law” or “regulation” need to be put on notice that there is no such immunity for their error. This can be an important part of our arsenal in the protection of our Liberty. But I believe this process would hinge on specific use of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It would be essential to include all pertinent writings regarding the intent of the founders for the particular right protected in order to establish without doubt that the Federally Protected Right has been violated.

Can State Representatives be held liable for violation of rights protected under Federal Law (the Constitution)? Why not? Could we not hold all responsible and file claim seeking remedy? Could a single case filed against a State Representative result in a recall with a special election? The possibilities are endless.

It is my belief that this could be a greater weapon when used LOCALLY to keep city, town and county public servants in line with the Constitution. As this remedy may be applied much easier locally and as it gains momentum it can then be applied to State officials. But this can be used immediately and effectively in all situations involving Law Enforcement Officers.

Your comments and ideas are appreciated.

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March 31, 2013 - Posted by | Bill of Rights, Constitution, Federal Tort Claims Act, Government, Law, Legal Liability, Legislation, Liberty, Limited Federal Government, Remedy, Supreme Court of the United States | , , , , , , ,

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