The decision starts on the 9th page of the above pdf link.
(Note: Justice Barrett did not participate in any of the business on this order list)
The decision is an unsigned per curiam. We don’t know the identities of the participating Justices, at least 5, possibly 6 or 7. All we know is that Justice Barrett did not participate and Justice Thomas issued a summary dissent.
Petitioner DeRay McKeeson organized a Black Lives Matter protest in Baton Rouge after a police officer shot a black man. The protestors blocked a local highway, allegedly at McKeeson’s direction. While clearing the protestors from the highway, an unidentified individual threw a concrete object, striking and gravely injuring Respondent Officer John Doe, causing brain injury and loss of teeth.
Officer Doe sued McKeeson for damages, stating that his negligence in organizing the occupation of the street led to Doe’s injuries. The District Court dismissed on First Amendment grounds, but the Fifth Circuit revived the case. Today the Supreme Court vacated the Judgement of the Fifth Circuit and remanded for further consideration. But likely, the case will ultimately be dismissed as McKeeson is protected under the First Amendment from actions committed by third parties.
I believe the Supreme Court properly acted here. The First Amendment does place limitations on tort, otherwise it would be financially impossible for most people to organize a demonstration due to tort risk.
And now for a wee bit of snark.
Officers routinely hide behind qualified immunity.
McKeeson was shielded by the First Amendment.
While I feel bad for the specific officer, he is getting a taste of what it is like to be on the other side of a shield that protects from tort.
On one side, qualified immunity.
On the other side, the First Amendment.
Just some food for thought.
Supreme Court got it right.