Interesting Division in Sixth Circuit Qualified Immunity Case

On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decided Kovacic v. Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services.  The panel consisted of Judges Boggs, Moore and Sutton.  The panel split on the question of qualified immunity for social workers who removed children from their mother’s home.  (You know where this is going, right?  Think again.)  Judge Moore wrote the opinion for the court rejecting qualified immunity, joined by Judge Boggs.  Judge Sutton dissented.  That’s hardly the line-up most would expect.

Time permitting, I may have more to say on this case later.  For now, let me just note that decisions like this are a useful reminder that the political affiliation or ideological orientation of a judge is not always a useful predictor of how judges will decide individual cases.