Public officials can be more certain than ever before that qualified immunity will shield them from suits for money damages even if their actions violate the constitutional rights of another. In the October 2011 Term the Supreme Court granted qualified immunity to government officials in four significant cases and denied it to none. Troublesome aspects of the Supreme Court’s current approach include (1) the failure to clarify important Constitutional questions; and (2) the blurring of the distinction between absolute and qualified immunity for all practical purposes by assuring state officials that they can be certain of the shield from liability. The article does not contend that any specific state officials are plainly incompetent, but the concern is that all governmental actors will be protected -- even in extreme cases -- so long as their behavior is “not entirely unreasonable”. For those who are concerned about the protection of individual rights, these times are tough. The direction that the Court is now taking is clear, and it favors those who do the work of the government, not the average citizen.
Susan Bendlin, Qualified Immunity: Protecting All but the Plainly Incompetent (and Maybe Some of Them, Too), 45 J. Marshall L. Rev. 1023 (2012)