Civil Immunity, Blackstone and Legal Regress
What limits, if any, are there to Congress cancelling tort liability after the fact?
In the criminal context, we have the constitutional ban on ex post facto legislation, but I do not believe it applies to tort and I'm not at all sure it prevents Congress from cancelling (rather than imposing) criminal liability for past acts.
All of which reminds me of a bit of legal history. In English law in the 18th century there was a legal action, still on the books although not much used in practice, called the "Appeal of Felony." It was a private action, like a tort suit, with criminal penalties. Blackstone, describing it, writes:
"IF the appellee be found guilty, he shall suffer the same judgment, as if he had been convicted by indictment : but with this remarkable difference ; that on an indictment, which is at the suit of the king, the king may pardon and remit the execution ; on an appeal, which is at the suit of a private subject, to make an atonement for the private wrong, the king can no more pardon it, than he can remit the damages recovered on an action of battery."
So it looks as though 18th century law took it for granted that the crown could not cancel liability for tort damages, at least after the case had been tried. I don't know if Parliament could. And, if I correctly understand current news stories, everyone takes it for granted that the 21st century Congress can cancel liability for tort damages, if not after judgement at least while the case is in progress.
Any comments from those who know more than I do about current law? Could one argue, along Epsteinian lines, that canceling such liability is a taking, hence barred under the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment?