This article contends that, for purposes of settling the law, courts entertaining civil rights lawsuits doomed to fail on grounds of qualified immunity should presumably address the question whether the complaint pleads a viable claim that the defendant caused a violation of the plaintiff's federal rights. The article also contends that such "unnecessary" threshold rulings are not dicta.
Notre Dame Law Review
John M. Greabe, "Mirabile Dictum! The Case for 'Unnecessary' Constitutional Rulings in Civil Rights Damages Actions," 74 NOTRE DAME L. REV. 403 (1999).