Supreme Court Challenge (issued 2020)

Restore Fourth Amendment civil rights protections to citizens!

Supreme Court: Take up any case and reestablish the civil rights of citizens as the Constitution intended.

Correct the errors of the past, and apologize for the perversions that have caused justice to be denied for clear violations of the civil rights of American citizens.

Restore justice and truth to American courts.

Equal-Justice-Under-Law

It is too late for those who died, and too late those who have lost so much and were denied justice.

It is not too late for those who will have to interact with police officers next week!

Through much of our history civil rights were respected and protected, because they are written into the Constitution. Yet most Americans can name cases in recent decades where civil rights were violated and justice was denied. Current Supreme Court Justices have observed for a while that something must be done to restore / protect the rights of citizens, including:

"The Court's jurisprudence, I am concerned, sets the balance too heavily in favor of police unaccountability to the detriment of Fourth Amendment protection."  - Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, concurring in DC v Wesby, 138 SC 577, 594 (2018)

"I don't believe that we should bend the Constitution under any circumstance. It says what it says. We should do honor to it."  - Justice Sonia Sotomayor

"It is your Constitution that establishes the rule of law."  - Justice Amy Coney Barrett

There is no political or other divide between Americans who all enjoy and share the civil rights created by that Constitution.

Equal-Justice-Under-Law

Justice Thurgood Marshall said, "Where you see wrong or injustice or inequality, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy."

And it is wrong, it is an injustice, when civil rights are violated, for our courts to deny remedy to citizens who plead for justice.

It is time for the Supreme Court to fix a problem it created. There are too many videos that terrify good American citizens.

This is the most critical issue for anyone who must interact with a police officer, because everyone has something they would rather do than be attacked, arrested or killed...like regrout old tile,or rearrange photo storage, or clean the tire treads on a car with a toothbrush...  For malicious, inadvertent or negligent violations of civil rights, justice should be assured. Even in cases where a civil rights violation was caused by a well intentioned officer "just doing their job", a violation is still a violation, and all violations deserve restitution.

In all cases, courts should not want citizens to feel that the only time citizens have a fair chance to contest a violation of civil rights is on the streets. There must be justice in our courts.

 

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath of affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

“Right of the people to be secure in their persons…shall not be violated…”

“Right of the people to be secure…against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…”

Equal-Justice-Under-Law

Ultimate power in any society belongs to the people; "the consent of the governed". To the extent the people are educated, they can correct abuses of power. You are educating yourself now. Share this with your friends, and let's together educate as many good citizens as possible.

Abraham Lincoln wrote while preparing for a speech in 1859, "The people of these United States are the rightful masters of both Congresses and courts. Not to overthrow the Constitution. But to overthrow the men who would pervert the Constitution."

The Constitution grants civil rights to American citizens. Judges must protect those rights. When judges fail to do so, judges must change.

Observe that if the Court was honest, the remedy for violations of our Constitutional civil rights must be the same, whether that violation of civil rights was caused by a police officer or any other government employee or agency. "Equal Justice Under Law". Yet our courts have lost sight of the importance of consistent protection of Constitutional civil rights, and allowed that there is usually no remedy for the damage done by violations of those civil rights if the violation was done by police officers.

John Marshall - Judicial Power

How did it happen?

Constitutional rights have been diminished by the Supreme Court (SCOTUS), beginning in 1967 when the Court decided that the liability protection of officers superseded remedy for violation of the civil rights of citizens, and the Court created "qualified immunity". (See "Relevant Laws & Cases") The court observed in 1967's Pierson v Ray that if officers who arrested (wrongfully violated civil rights) were found to be liable for violating civil rights, they would have to make financial restitution. And if officers had to make restitution personally, the financial burden would decimate individual officers. Officers were just effecting a law that they had reasons to believe was a lawful local ordinance, but it was later declared unconstitutional. How to resolve the conundrum? So SCOTUS tipped the scales of justice and said in essence, 'absolve the officers of liability and they won't be forced to make restitution, and then others will continue to work in law enforcement if the risk of severe financial loss is not present, and civil society requires laws and law enforcement, so the lesser risk to society is to tip the scales of justice in favor of determining no liability for officers.'

The damages in the 1967 case were simply unlawful arrest, delayed travel, expenses including lawyers, etc. It is interesting to consider what might have happened at the Supreme Court had that case involved deaths of citizens, like cases we see today. But the precedent has stood unchanged, and even been expanded by SCOTUS, through increasingly more severe civil rights violations, even though present society has other means to address the "remedy" conundrums.

The Constitution's Bill of Rights says that denying remedy for those who have been wronged is grievous error.  Section 1983 of Federal law says that a violator of civil rights is liable to the person whose rights were violated, and the Supreme Court denying liability is seriously in error. Supreme Court justices throughout our history would argue that the current era of "lack of liability for violations of civil rights" by the Supreme Court is serious error. The Court made a grave omission, and it must be corrected. So let us help our courts get this right.

How do we fix it?

There are clear cases of malevolent conduct by officers who inflict severe damage upon citizens purposefully and intentionally and of the officer's own free will. And in those cases, a civil rights "violation is a violation, and violations deserve restitution" (nod to Justice John Marshall). Malevolent officers should be punished, and should be stripped of police powers so violations cannot recur. "Protecting and serving" the citizens requires eliminating such risks.

Then what about cases where officers, "acting lawfully and in good faith" face penalty personally and financially for rights violations that were negligent or unintended, or in which the officers are acting as "agents" at the direction of a higher authority? That is a debatable point. And that is what gave rise to cases where officers have been held not liable to those whose rights were violated, beginning with Pierson v Ray in 1967. (See "Errors with Warrants" tab, and "Relevant Laws & Cases" tab for more info.)

Observe: It is not a plain either/or question of whether "the officer is liable, and financially decimated" or "the citizen receives no restitution for what everyone knows is clearly a civil rights violation".

SIMPLE SOLUTION: We have to unjoin the "liability" from the "financial restitution", in order to help our courts see that it is possible to allow citizens to receive justice honestly without damaging the structures of civil society.  (!!)

We have to allow that officers can be liable for damages inflicted by rights violations, without requiring them to personally pay damage awards they cannot afford to pay in cases where an officer is "in good faith just doing the job".

The damages that can be inflicted by police powers, even to unlawful death of citizens, are too great to not do this.

So let us implement an easy solution to the financial elements of this Challenge, and to upgrading the professionalism of law enforcement, in two parts, and allow the Supreme Court to be honest about civil rights violations.

[1]  $1M Indemnity Insurance

Smart financial protection is a must in the modern world. When professional careers in so many fields are protected by indemnity insurance, it is time to bring the professionals in law enforcement under a coverage that can protect officers and citizens when something unfortunate happens, and so restitution can be awarded that does not threaten the personal financial standing of officers when violations of civil rights occur. Then SCOTUS can be honest in rulings, and can cease pretending that cases of clear civil rights violations in some way threaten to undermine law enforcement and/or civil society.

We recommend that all police officers, who wield powers that can inflict irreparable harm to citizens to the point even of undeserved death, must carry indemnity insurance in the amount of $1M minimum. Damages can be far greater, of course, in certain situations, but this is a starting minimum to protect citizens and protect officers. Legal and trial costs alone for even the most routine of unlawful interactions can easily reach 15-50K, plus lost time from work and family, plus injury costs, and other damages. And a life lost is priceless, for we can never know what impact any person can have on the lives and futures of others. Indemnity insurance is necessary for everyone involved, and that removes from court consideration 'whether officers should be punished for doing their job, and it is a hard job, etc.' Violations can be compensated, honestly. It also elevates law enforcement among the professional classes of jobs that carry indemnity protection.

Legislatures must require that every registered police officer carry $1M in indemnity insurance in order to hold and use police powers. This must be done either at the level of the US Congress as a nationwide law, or at the level of every state legislature passing a law.

[2]  Initial and ongoing education in the Constitution's Bill of Rights

Officers who respect civil rights don't violate civil rights. Standardized law enforcement training at all law enforcement academies must be rooted in the foundation of all law, the US Constitution with particular attention to the Bill of Rights, which contains the civil rights of all citizens. And this education must be refreshed with Continuing Education certifications, again, elevating law enforcement among the classes of professions that have certification of continuing education (CE). The importance of respecting the civil rights of all Americans, and the risk of serious negative consequences to citizens that can result from abuse of police powers, requires this. Also, indemnity insurance carriers will understand that officers certified in the Bill of Rights are less likely to incur a liability claim for violating those rights. This is an eminently reasonable expectation for vetted and selected smart officers who claim to have studied, know, and know how to enforce other laws, like traffic violations and etc. If you want to hold and use police powers, you must first respect the civil rights of the citizens who pay your salary and permit you to use those powers. First things first.

Simple. Smart. Solutions.

These two elements are the core requirements for the next generation of policing in America. There are a host of additional reforms that can help bring law enforcement into the modern era, and you can find more on the Future Vision page.

We the People

What can we do today?

Help us get there, as a nation.

Generally, when about 3% of a population anywhere in the world is activated by an issue, it is enough to press for change in any system of government. To create enough energy behind this movement to change the federal courts in the USA, that equates to about 10 Million people. Those people could march in the streets, they could sign a petition, or something in between. Some of those activities present more risk than others. Let's make it easy in an Internet world...let's just simply get:

  1. 10 Million Americans supporting common sense reforms at https://www.4thamend.org/join
  2. 10 Million citizens to make a donation to this cause at https://www.4thamend.org/donate
  3. 10 Million Americans who know the 4th Amendment, educating friends and neighbors about the rights we all enjoy. Let us help each other elevate America to a better place. Share a link, or wear gear from our STORE

SHOW THE SUPREME COURT THAT YOU KNOW YOUR CIVIL RIGHTS AND THE CONSTITUTION, AND THAT YOU CARE ABOUT TRUTH AND JUSTICE...!!

The amount doesn't matter when you donate. Donate what is convenient for you, and then get your family and friends involved. The number of people committed to justice is what matters.

Yes, the Challenge is in our Courts. Only justice in our courts will restore safety to our streets. The Supreme Court must restore civil rights.

Equal-Justice-Under-Law

This is the #SupremeCourtChallenge.

Before another tragedy happens, “Restore the Fourth Amendment civil rights of American citizens!”

   THE TIME IS NOW...!

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