In Reed v. Taylor, No. 17-20519 (5th Cir. May 2, 2019), a panel of the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's summary judgment in favor of officials of the Texas Office of Violent Sex Offender Management based on qualified immunity. Judge Willett wrote the majority opinion, which Judge Duncan joined. Judge Elrod concurred in the judgment and wrote separately.
This isn't an adlaw case, but I decided to post about it because Judge Elrod's concurring opinion cites the good work of two of my favorite adlaw scholars: Aaron Nielson & Christopher J. Walker. Take a look:
In 2015, as the panel majority observes, Texas repealed the criminal penalty for failure to pay for GPS monitoring. Resolving whether that state law violates the Social Security Act is therefore unnecessary because the law no longer exists. The main justifications for addressing the first prong of qualified immunity are to prevent stagnation in the law’s development and to keep “government officials [from] violat[ing] . . . rights with impunity.” Aaron Nielson & Christopher J. Walker, The New Qualified Immunity, 89 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1, 12 (2015) (quoting Jack M. Beermann, Qualified Immunity and Constitutional Avoidance, 2009 Sup. Ct. Rev. 139, 149). Neither concern is implicated here. We need not illuminate whether threatening a social security beneficiary with prosecution is legal under federal law; it is not even legal under state law anymore. And we need not prevent officials from potentially violating the rights of social security beneficiaries in this way because state law no longer allows those officials to do so