Asymmetric review of qualified immunity appeals

Based on a comprehensive study analyzing over 4,000 appellate decisions from 2004 to 2015, insights into the resolution of qualified immunity in federal courts of appeals and the US Supreme Court are revealed. The findings have significant implications for civil rights enforcement and the uniformity of federal law. Research shows that qualified immunity often prevents relief for plaintiffs, with courts of appeals more likely to reverse decisions denying qualified immunity. This asymmetric review is correlated with indicators of judicial ideology. Additionally, similar patterns of asymmetric review are observed in the Supreme Court’s certiorari practice.

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