CONSTITUTIONAL TORTS OUTLINESPRING 2005TIMMONS
Introduction to constitutional torts
A. Definition: Actions brought against governments and their officialsand employees seeking damages for the violation of federalconstitutional right, particularly those arising under the 14
amendment and the Bill of Rights. Note: the only people who canviolate your constitutional rights are government employers.Constitution only limits governmental power, not individual (exceptionis 13
amendment prohibiting slavery). Bill of rights not applicable tothe states directly; have to look to the 14
, and 8
) for incorporation. Con torts share main policy goals w/traditional torts: deterrence and compensation.B. 42 U.S.C. 1983: “Every person who, under color of any statute,ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State orTerritory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to besubjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, orimmunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable tothe party injured in any action brought against a judicial officer for anact or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctiverelief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated ordeclaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section,any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbiashall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.”C. 28 U.S.C. 1343(3): (a) The district courts shall have original jx ofany civil action authorized by law to be commenced by any person; (3)To redress the deprivation, under color of any State law, statute, orordinance, regulation, custom or usage, of any right, privilege orimmunity, secured by the Constitution of the United States or by anyAct of Congress providing for equal rights of citizens or all personswithin the jurisdiction of the United States. (b) For purposes of thissection: (1) the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a Stateand (2) any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District ofColumbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District ofColumbia.