Supreme Court Section 1983 Developments: October 1998 Term (Excerpt from Section 1983 Civil Rights Litigation Symposium)
16 Pages Posted: 16 May 2014
Date Written: 2000
At the time this Article was written, the big issue in the United States Supreme Court was Federalism. Section 1983 raises, if not always on the surface, certainly below the surface, federalism issues. Section 1983 is a federal congressional remedy authorizing claims for relief against state and local government. In a very high percentage of the cases, the Section 1983 battle takes place in the federal courts.
Section 1983 cases have also raised a very wide range of potential issues. Putting aside federalism concerns; questions of federal statutory interpretation, the meaning of Section 1983, constitutional interpretation, and sometimes the interplay between federal law and state law are all issues that arise in Section 1983 cases. If you put that whole picture together, there is certainly a lot that can go on in a Section 1983 action.
In the October 1998 Term, the Supreme Court rendered a number of important decisions involving Section 1983 litigation. In terms of the major Section 1983 cases, the author analyzes these cases within the context of four different topics: the constitutional rights enforceable under Section 1983; state action; the right to trial by jury; and qualified immunity.
Keywords: Section 1983 litigation, federalism, federal constitutional rights, procedural due process, substantive due process, Privileges and Immunities Clause, state action, right to jury trial, qualified immunity
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