Not Enough Blame to Go Around: Reflections on Requiring Purposeful Government Misconduct
19 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2003 Last revised: 21 Mar 2017
Although neither blame nor responsibility is a term capable of precise definition, blame is a concept with particular resonances - both moral and emotional. Blame evokes a highly personal expression of the wrongdoer's attitudes or emotions toward the victim, whereas responsibility connotes a professional violation of shared, externalized norms. This article identifies an increasingly pronounced tendency to premise government liability on a demand for blameworthy behavior of a type in which entities rarely engage, rather than on standards of responsibility better suited to measuring the behaviors and duties of governmental entities. It argues that the tendency has had unfortunate consequences for the scope of municipal liability jurisprudence.
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