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Qualified Immunity

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Mohammad Siddique v. Michael Laliberte, et al.,

Case No.: 19-2580

Officials: KANNE, WOOD, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Qualified Immunity

In 2013, Mohammad Siddique applied for a temporary student-government position at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His application was said to have been rejected because he did not meet a minimum enrollment requirement crafted for the position. Siddique offers an alternative narrative: his application was rejected not because of the enrollment criteria but because of his critical stances against members of the University administration who worked with the student government and who were involved with the application process, including the Defendants.

Siddique sued University officials, Laliberte, Stockton, and Thomas, in their individual capacities, under the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He alleged that these Defendants’ rejection of his application for the student-government position violated his First Amendment right to be free from governmental retaliation.

The district court determined that qualified immunity prevented Siddique’s claim from proceeding to trial and granted summary judgment to the Defendants. We affirm because federal law does not clearly establish that enforcing an enrollment requirement for a student-government position violates the First Amendment.


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Derek A Hawkins is trademark corporate counsel for Harley-Davidson. Hawkins oversees the prosecution and maintenance of the Harley-Davidson’s international trademark portfolio in emerging markets.

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