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ref: -0 tags: constitutional law supreme court date: 06-03-2020 01:40 gmt revision:0 [head]

Spent a while this evening reading about Qualified Immunity -- the law that permits government officials (e.g. police officers) immunity when 'doing their jobs'. It's perhaps one root of the George Floyd / racism protests, as it has set a precedent that US police can be violent and get away with it. (This is also related to police unions and collective liability loops... anyway)

The supreme court has the option to take cases challenging the constitutionality of Qualified Immunity, which many on both sides of the political spectrum want them to do.

It 'got' this power via Marbury vs. Madison. M v. M is self-referential genius:

  • They ruled the original action (blocking an appointment) was illegal
  • but the court does not have the power to make these decisions
  • because the congressional law that gave the Supreme Court that power was unconstitutional.
  • Instead, the supreme court has the power to decide if laws (in this case, those governing its jurisdiction) are constitutional.
  • E.g. SCOTUS initiated judicial review & expansion of it's jurisdiction over Congressional law by repealing a law that expanded it's jurisdiction by congress.
  • This was also done while threading the loops to satisfy then-present political pressure (who wanted the original appointment to be illegal) so that they (Thomas Jefferson) were aligned with the increase in power, so the precedent could persist.

As a person curious how systems gain complexity and feedback loops ... so much nerdgasm.