Text: H.R.7115 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (06/04/2020)

 
[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H.R. 7115 Introduced in House (IH)]

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116th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 7115

 To expand the scope of section 1979 of the Revised Statutes, and for 
                            other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                              June 4, 2020

  Mr. Veasey introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
                       Committee on the Judiciary

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To expand the scope of section 1979 of the Revised Statutes, and for 
                            other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Restoration of Civil Rights Act of 
2019''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) Section 1 of the Act entitled ``An Act to enforce the 
        provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of 
        the United States and for other purposes'' (commonly known as 
        the ``Civil Rights Act of 1871''), approved April 20, 1871 (17 
        Stat. 13, chapter 22) was enacted by Congress to provide a 
        Federal forum to which a civil cause of action could be brought 
        by any citizen of the United States or other person within the 
        jurisdiction thereof, for the deprivation of any right, 
        privilege or immunity secured by the Constitution or by Federal 
        statute.
            (2) Congress was granted the authority to enact the Civil 
        Rights Act of 1871 by sections 1 and 5 of the Fourteenth 
        Amendment of Constitution of the United States.
            (3) Popularly known as the ``Anti-Ku Klux Klan Act'', the 
        statute was enacted to provide a Federal remedy to fight the 
        ``Klan's reign of terror'' in the southern states, as reflected 
        in President Grant's message to Congress on March 23, 1871, 
        which stated that the Klan had ``render[ed] life and property 
        insecure'' and that the ``power to correct these evils [was] 
        beyond the control of state authorities''.
            (4) A Joint Committee from each House of Congress addressed 
        the problem, and the Committee's product was the Civil Rights 
        Act of 1871, from which section 1979 of the Revised Statutes 
        was derived (42 U.S.C. 1983), which reads as follows: ``Every 
        person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, 
        custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of 
        Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of 
        the United States or other person within the jurisdiction 
        thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or 
        immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be 
        liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in 
        equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in 
        any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or 
        omission taken in such officer's judicial capacity, injunctive 
        relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was 
        violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the 
        purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable 
        exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to 
        be a statute of the District of Columbia.''.
            (5) Decisions of the United States Supreme Court, beginning 
        with Monell v. New York City Department of Social Services, 436 
        U.S. 658 (1978), have held that governmental entities are not 
        responsible or liable for damages caused by their agents or 
        employees who, in the course and scope of their employment, 
        violate the constitutional rights of citizens and other persons 
        within the jurisdiction of the United States.
            (6) Decisions of the United States Supreme Court, beginning 
        with Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800 (1982), have 
        established the doctrine of ``qualified immunity'', absolving 
        the individual wrongdoers themselves of liability for even the 
        most egregious violations of the Constitution unless there 
        exists a clearly established statutory or constitutional 
        precedent of which all reasonable public officials would have 
        known.
            (7) To be a clearly established precedent, there must be a 
        prior case whose ``particularized facts'' clearly place the 
        statutory or constitutional question ``beyond debate''. White 
        v. Pauly, 137 S.Ct. 548, 551-52 (2017).
            (8) Qualified immunity was not known at common law and has 
        had the effect of nullifying the right to seek redress for 
        constitutional violations unless a virtually identical set of 
        facts existed in a case previously decided that is so well-
        known and recognized that no reasonable public official would 
        not have knowledge thereof.
            (9) The failure to hold governmental entities, responsible 
        for the constitutional violations of their agents or employees 
        acting within the course and scope of their employment, 
        together with the qualified immunity the courts have granted 
        the agents and employees from personal responsibility for their 
        constitutional violations, deprive citizens of the United 
        States and other persons within its jurisdiction of an 
        effective remedy for the deprivation of their rights, 
        privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws 
        of the United States, and specifically, drastically weaken the 
        remedy granted by section 1979 of the Revised Statutes (42 
        U.S.C. 1983), making this bill which amends the section 
        necessary in order to restore the purpose and intent of section 
        1979 of the Revised Statutes.

SEC. 6. EXPANDING CIVIL RIGHTS REMEDIES.

    Section 1979 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (42 
U.S.C. 1983) is amended--
            (1) by inserting ``(a)'' before the first sentence; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following:
    ``(b) Any person against whom any action, suit, or proceeding is 
filed under subsection (a) for an act or omission taken in the person's 
official capacity may not raise as a defense that such act or omission 
did not violate a clearly established statutory or constitutional 
right.
    ``(c) In any action, suit, or proceeding filed under subsection (a) 
in which a person is held liable for an act or omission taken in the 
person's official capacity, any State or Territory or the District of 
Columbia, of which the person is an employee, shall be vicariously 
liable for such act or omission if the act or omission of the person 
are attributable to violations of the 14th Amendment by the State or 
Territory or the District of Columbia, as the case may be.
    ``(d) Any person who is an employee or contractor of a State or 
Territory or the District of Columbia and is found to be liable under 
subsection (a) for acts or omissions occurring in the course and scope 
of such person's employment or agreement is entitled to indemnification 
by such State or Territory or the District of Columbia if the act of 
omission is taken in the person's official capacity and attributable to 
violations of the 14th Amendment by the State or Territory or the 
District of Columbia, as the case may be.
    ``(e) Any United States Attorney may bring a civil action for a 
violation of this section on behalf of any citizen of the United States 
or other person within the jurisdiction thereof before the appropriate 
Federal district court for appropriate relief.''.

SEC. 7. APPLICATION.

    The amendments made by this Act shall apply to any action, suit, or 
proceeding pending on the date of enactment of this Act or filed on or 
after such date.
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