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Courts and Crime

ACLU of Maine says Supreme Court ruling limits ability to sue federal agents

Supreme Court
Manuel Balce Ceneta
The U.S Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, June 8, 2022.

Mainers are going to find it harder to protect their Constitutional rights in certain circumstances following a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, according to the ACLU of Maine.

This week, the court's conservative justices issued a majority opinion against a man from Washington state who sued a federal border patrol agent. The man alleged that the agent used excessive force during a confrontation at the man's inn.

Zachary Heiden of the ACLU of Maine says as a border state, there is a substantial federal law enforcement presence in Maine.

"There have been incidents here in Maine where immigration officials have stopped people on the highway or questioned people on buses," says Heiden. "And if they violate the Constitution, individuals should be able to go to court to enforce their rights. What the Supreme Court decided this week is going to make it harder for people to protect their rights."

In 2018, the ACLU of Maine sued U.S. Customs and Border Protection to release investigation records after agents questioned the citizenship of bus passengers in Bangor.

Heiden says he hopes Congress will enact legislation to ensure the Constitution's protections are a reality for all individuals.