Amicus: Immunity in High Places

Can government officials be held individually responsible for constitutional violations? And why one NFL team is so interested in a trademark challenge.

Listen to Episode 58 of Slate’s Amicus:

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Can a group of wrongfully detained noncitizens sue high-ranking Bush administration officials for violating their rights in the days following 9/11? That’s the central question in Ziglar v. Abbasi, which was argued this week at the Supreme Court. On today’s episode, we hear from Rachel Meeropol of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who represented the former detainees.

We also consider Lee v. Tam, another big case argued at the high court on Wednesday. It centers on a trademark claim by the Asian American dance-rock band the Slants. That claim was denied on the grounds that the name was disparaging toward “persons of Asian descent.” Simon Tam joins us to tell the story of his band’s name and to make the case that the government isn’t equipped to be deciding who is and isn’t using language disparagingly.

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Podcast production by Tony Field.