• Professor Shel Nahmod

    Sheldon H. Nahmod

    Distinguished Professor of Law

    – Go to his faculty biography

    – Go to his publications:

       SSRN: http://papers.ssrn.com
       Bepress: http://works.bepress.com/sheldon_nahmod/

    – Go to his blog on constitutional and civil rights law: http://nahmodlaw.com

    Filarsky v. Delia: A New Supreme Court Private Individual Immunity Decison

    by  • May 10, 2012 • Faculty Commentary • 0 Comments

    By Sheldon Nahmod [via Nahmod Law]

    I blogged on November 10, 2011, about the Supreme Court‘s grant of certiorari in Delia v. City of Rialto, 621 F. 3d 1069 (9th Cir. 2011), sub nom Filarsky v. Delia, No. 10-1018, where the Ninth Circuit held that a private attorney retained by the government was not entitled to qualified immunity, even though all of the government actors involved in the same challenged conduct were so protected because they did not violate clearly settled law.

    The Question Presented was the following: “Whether a lawyer retained to work with government employees in conducting an internal affairs investigation is precluded from asserting qualified immunity solely because of his status as a ‘private’ lawyer rather than a government employee.”

    In a unanimous decision handed down on April 17, 2012, and written by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court ruled that an individual hired by the government to work for it is indeed protected by qualified immunity, even though that individual does not work for the government on a permanent or full-time basis. Filarsky v. Delia, 132 S. Ct. — (2012).


    Ryburn v. Huff: New Supreme Court Qualified Immunity Decision and a Slapdown of the Ninth Circuit

    by  • March 11, 2012 • Faculty Commentary • 0 Comments

    By Sheldon Nahmod [via Nahmod Law]

    In the course of my section 1983 presentations to attorneys and judges, I have occasionally referred to the Ninth Circuit as “the circuit that the Supreme Court loves to hate” because the Court appears to reverse the Ninth Circuit with greater frequency than it does other circuits.

    The January 23, 2012, decision in Ryburn v. Huff, 132 S. Ct. — (2012)(per curiam), is a good example of this phenomenon that is made even better by the fact that the Court granted certiorari and summarily reversed the Ninth Circuit solely on the basis of the police officer defendants’ petition for writ of certiorari and the plaintiffs’ response.


    The Constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

    by  • February 25, 2012 • Faculty Commentary, Multimedia • 0 Comments

    By Sheldon Nahmod [via Nahmod Law]

    On January 18, 2012, I blogged about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act whose constitutionality is currently before the Supreme Court.

    In that post, I focused on the Commerce Clause challenge to the individual mandate.

    On February 10, 2012, I participated in an hour-long discussion of the overall constitutionality of the Act at a program sponsored by the Shriver Center and held in Chicago.

    This discussion, which was videotaped, covered the Commerce Clause, the Taxing Power, the expansion of Medicaid, and even the federal Tax Injunction Act.

    Below is the Youtube link to this discussion. I hope you find it of interest.


    Student Brief: Nahmod on Constitutional Torts, Over-Deterrence and Supervisory Liability After Iqbal

    by  • October 30, 2009 • Faculty Workshops/ Conferences, Student Contributions • 0 Comments

    By student blogger Moshe Marvit

    Recently Professor Sheldon Nahmod presented a talk to the Chicago-Kent College of Law faculty about the Supreme Court’s recent decision of Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009). Though the case is primarily a pleadings case involving §1983 pleading requirements after Twombly, the talk focused on the Court’s revisionist treatment of §1983 supervisory liability.

    Professor Nahmod’s talk, entitled, “Consitutional Torts, Over-Deterrence and Supervisory Liability After Iqbal,” proceeded in three parts. First a primer on §1983 and Bivens actions was discussed, with particular attention paid to the purposes of §1983, the role of immunities, and the statutes so called “background of tort liability.” Next, Professor Nahmod discussed the role that deterrence, and perhaps over-deterrence, has played in the developing interpretation of the statute. Finally, a framework for understanding the different approaches that the Court has taken towards supervisory liability was provided, and an argument made for why the Court’s current approach in Iqbal is inconsistent with the statute’s purposes and prior precedent.


    Teaching Brown v. Board of Education

    by  • October 26, 2009 • Faculty Commentary • 0 Comments

    By Sheldon Nahmod [via Nahmod Law]


    Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), is one of the great constitutional law cases and perhaps the most important Supreme Court decision of the 20th century. I want to describe how I approach the case in class and what I hope students will learn.


    Brown cannot be understood in isolation from what preceded it: the history of slavery, the Civil War, the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments and Jim Crow in the South as exemplified by Plessy v. Ferguson, 166 U.S. 537 (1896). In Plessy, the Court, over Justice Harlan’s prescient dissent, had upheld separate but equal for railroad cars, with far-reaching implications for segregation generally.

    Similarly, Brown cannot be understood apart from its own specific historical setting: victory over the racist Nazi regime in the Second World War, the rise of the Soviet Union, the integration of the American military, the urgent need for workers after the Second World War and important demographic changes.

    Finally, there is an obvious moral dimension to Brown, although the Court did not expressly ground Brown on moral considerations.

    In this connection, I raise the question in class whether the Court in Brown was leading the nation, whether it was following the nation or some combination thereof. I also disabuse my students of the notion that the Court as an institution was particularly heroic in Brown, since its own late 19th and 20th century decisions enabled and encouraged the South to continue the segregationist policies that the Court in Brown finally  began to dismantle.