The Supreme Court will decide if the innkeeper can sue the border agent for the damages of the First Amendment


Supreme Court of the United States

The Supreme Court will decide if the innkeeper can sue the border agent for the damages of the First Amendment

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The United States Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide whether the owner of a bed and breakfast called the Smugglers Inn can sue a border patrol officer for damages under the First and Fourth Amendments.

The high court accepted the deal innkeeper Robert Boule, who says a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officer pushed him to the ground and then retaliated after Boule reported the incident to his superiors, reports Law360, SCOTUSblog and Press office of the courthouse.

The issue at issue is the scope of the Fourth Amendment cause of action for damages, authorized against federal agents by the 1971 case. Bivens v. Six named agents unknown to Federal Bureau of Narcotics.

Following this decision, the Supreme Court authorized Bivens claims for damages under the Fifth and Eighth Amendments, according to SCOTUSblog coverage. But in 2017, the court warned that the expansion of the Bivens remedy is disadvantaged.

the certificate petition outlines three questions in the case of Boule. The court accepted the first two.

The first question is whether a Bivens a cause of action is permitted for First Amendment retaliatory claims against federal agents. Federal appeals courts are divided 6-1 on the issue, with the majority believing that there is no cause of action. The 9th U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco was the only appeals court to rule to the contrary when it ruled in the Boule case.

The second is whether a Bivens There is a cause of action for the Fourth Amendment claims against federal agents performing immigration-related duties. Federal appeals courts are divided 3-1 on the issue, with the 9th Circuit being the only court to support the claim.

The Supreme Court refused to decide a third question: whether to reconsider the Bivens previous.

Boule owns a bed and breakfast in Blaine, Washington, near the Canadian border. He had sued for a March 2014 incident, according to the Decision of the 9th Circuit for Boule. Boule says he intervened when a border patrol officer approached a vehicle carrying an arriving guest. Boule told the officer to leave, then stepped between the officer and the car.

Boule claims that the agent, Erik Egbert, pushed him against the car. When Boule didn’t move away, Egbert grabbed Boule and pushed him aside and onto the ground, Boule claims. Boule complained to Egbert’s superiors. In retaliation, Egbert reportedly asked the Internal Revenue Service to review Boule’s tax status.

The case is Egbert v. Ball. The SCOTUSblog case page is here.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Should federal agents be granted immunity for lies and beatings?” SCOTUS is invited to decide.

ABAJournal.com: “Supreme Court bans lawsuit for damages for cross-border shooting of border officer who killed Mexican teenager”

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