'I Do Not Think [Implausible] Means What You Think It Means': Ashcroft v. IQBAL and Judicial Vouching for Government Officials
Lewis & Clark Law School
February 24, 2010
Lewis & Clark Law Review, Vol. 14, p. 203, 2010
Lewis & Clark Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-7
The Supreme Court's use of a "plausibility" standard to order the dismissal of a plaintiff's civil rights action in Ashcroft v. Iqbal has been criticized on a variety of grounds. In this Article, I argue that even if Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure does and should contain such a plausibility standard, the application of that standard to Iqbal's allegations is utterly unpersuasive. The Court could have used qualified immunity to grant relief to the government-official defendants instead of declaring implausible Iqbal's allegation that he was subjected to harsh detention conditions due to his being Pakistani and Muslim. There are, in the pages of the federal reporters, decisions in which trial and appellate courts have sustained civil rights complaints against motions to dismiss. Those complaints, like Iqbal's, alleged conspiracies to target persons based on race or other such characteristics. Therefore, the Court's decision in Iqbal can, in essence, only be understood as vouching improperly that these defendants would not have acted in the ways alleged.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 15
Keywords: Iqbal, civil rights, 42 U.S.C. section 1983, Rule 12(b)(6), motion to dismiss, plausible
Date posted: March 2, 2010 ; Last revised: March 29, 2010
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