In a case involving a U.S. citizen who was accused of being victim to the illegal actions of federal Border Patrol agents, yesterday’s oral argument at the U.S. Supreme Court saw it. The agent is asked if he or she can sue for damages in Federal Court. It appears that the citizen has the upper hand.
This is the case Boule v. Egbert. The argument centers around the 1971 Supreme Court precedent. Bivens against Six Unknown Named Federal Bureau of Narcotics AgentsThe Fourth Amendment was not violated by the Federal Drug Cops.
Boule v. EgbertA federal officer may also be charged with excessive force. The case is actually substantially the same as Bivens. The Supreme Court however, has effectively abandoned BivensIn recent years, the reach of the precedent has been shortened to the point that it is practically impossible for him or her to overrule. When there is a Bivens claim arises in a context that is “different in a meaningful way from previous Bivens cases decided by this Court,” the Supreme Court said in Ziglar v. Abbasi2017: The presiding judge is required to search for “special factors counseling hesitation” before dismissing the case against the federal officer. If we are unable to proceed, Bivens in a new context or to a new class of defendants,” the Court said in Hernandez v. Mesa(2020), “We reject the request.”
Also, it is despite the fact BivensA Fourth Amendment suit against federal drug cops was allowed to continue, but the Supreme Court’s recent decisions suggest otherwise. It is notA Fourth Amendment excess force suit against a federal Border Patrol agent can be allowed, because that may count as either a new context or “new category of defendants.”
Justice Clarence Thomas made that clear in his question to Felicia Elsworth. Felicia is Robert Boule’s lawyer in the lawsuit against the federal officer accused of pushing him to ground and injuring his shoulder. Thomas replied, “Aren’t we up against the facts?” BivensIn recent times? “We’ve nearly all declined to expand it.”
Justice Sonia Sotomayor was more inclined to offer BivensIn the current case, there is a possibility. Erik Egbert, the Border Patrol agent’s lawyer, said that the issue was “excessive force”. And I believed that the claimant was an American citizen. Und, Bivens,” she continued, “it was an excessive force claim in…a private home. This is an excessive force claim for the inn property owned by a U.S. citizen. citizen.” Sotomayor asked: “What possible reasons do you have to allow a federal agent in one case and not the other?”
That’s an excellent question. It’s likely that Sotomayor may soon ask it in an opposing opinion.