After nearly a century of quiet slumber, the Supreme Court awoke the sleeping giant. In the past two decades, 42 U.S.C. §1983 has evolved into a judicial Frankenstein monster. Unable to control the beast, the Court has attempted to restrict the creature's movements by unnecessarily limiting its constitutional source. If followed to its logical conclusion, the Court's narrow reading of the Constitution may ultimately demote all due process violations to state tort remedies. This note traces the legislative and judicial evolution of section 1983 as well as the statute's present interaction with the due process clause. The vehicle for this examination will be Parratt v. Taylor, a recent Supreme Court decision which presents both dubious ramifications for section 1983 actions involving negligent deprivations of life, liberty, and property, and an opportunity to examine the changing course of the Court. More specifically, the inquiry will focus upon the state of mind requirement of section 1983, the legislative mandate for a supplemental remedy, and an examination of present distortions of the spirit and purpose of section 1983.
Robert E. Palmer
The Supreme Court Continues Its Journey Down the Ever Narrowing Paths of Section 1983 and the Due Process Clause: An Analysis of Parratt v. Taylor,
10 Pepp. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/plr/vol10/iss3/3