Egbert v. Boule

A Supreme Court case addressing the scope of Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics

On January 25, 2022, the Knight Institute joined in filing an amicus brief in Egbert v. Boule, a Supreme Court case addressing the scope of Bivens claims.

In Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the Supreme Court held that a federal cause of action exists by which an individual could seek damages from federal officers after they violated his Fourth Amendment rights. Since that time, the Court—and appellate courts—have recognized that Bivens claims may be available as a remedy for other constitutional violations. In recent years, however, the Supreme Court has looked skeptically at Bivens claims, calling their adjudication a “disfavored judicial activity.” The Court will now consider whether Bivens claims are available for plaintiffs like Mr. Boule, who alleged that an immigration officer conducted an unconstitutional search and seizure on his property and retaliated against him in violation of the First Amendment.

This amicus brief, filed by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press on behalf of the Knight Institute and dozens of media organizations, argues that the Supreme Court should not categorically reject the application of Bivens to First Amendment claims. The brief describes the importance of Bivens to newsgathering activities, where after-the-fact damages are often the only way to deter federal officials from retaliating against members of the press.

Status: Argued on March 2, 2022.

Case Information: Egbert v. Boule, No. 21-147 (S. Ct.).

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