Iqbal and Empathy

16 Pages Posted: 22 May 2010 Last revised: 27 Dec 2014

Date Written: May 15, 2010


This Essay argues that empathy does and should play an important, albeit limited role, in a judge’s decision making process. Specifically, empathy is essential for making correct, principled, and unbiased judgments, because empathy is one of the few means we have to understand human motivation. Empathy is a crucial cognitive mechanism that can help compensate for common cognitive bias. As such, empathy, appropriately restricted, should be an accepted and meaningful tool for judges to use in evaluating the sufficiency of complaints, especially as they relate to Iqbal’s plausibility pleading standard.

Keywords: empathy, Iqbal, twombly, pleading, Sotomayor, jurisprudence, bias, cognitive, heuristics, behaviorism, economics

Suggested Citation

Miller, Darrell A. H., Iqbal and Empathy (May 15, 2010). University of Missouri-Kansas City Law Review, Vol. 78, 2010; U of Cincinnati Public Law Research Paper No. 10-25. Available at SSRN:

Darrell A. H. Miller (Contact Author)

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

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