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Professor Allison Weiss Questions Supreme Court Doctrine on Prisoner Lawsuits

Washington and Lee Law professor Allison Weiss has published a comment in the Washington and Lee Law Review Online, “The Unqualified Mess of Qualified Immunity; A Doctrine Worth Overruling.”

Weiss wrote in response to third-year law student Ryan Johnson’s note, “Supervisors Without Supervision: Colon, McKenna, and the Confusing State of Supervisory Liability in the Second Circuit,” which received the 2019 Washington and Lee Law Council Law Review Award.

In his note, Johnson discusses the various ways that courts approach civil lawsuits by prisoners against supervisors within correctional facilities. Weiss questions the importance of supervisory liability in the first place, and examines the “qualified immunity” doctrine that allows courts to keep from engaging in difficult constitutional inquiries by relying on ambiguous standards in U.S. Supreme Court precedent. Weiss notes that, with the Supreme Court’s recent trend of overruling its prior decisions, flawed qualified immunity jurisprudence may soon be revisited and reversed.

Weiss joined the W&L Law faculty in 2018 as a Professor of Practice, teaching Legal Writing and the Rights of Prisoners Practicum. Weiss previously taught at Campbell Law School and worked for the Federal Defenders for the Western District of North Carolina in the appellate division.

Posted in Faculty Scholarship, Weiss, Allison W.

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