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Perfidy on pleadings? A House Judiciary chairman comments

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) gave an opening statement at the House Judiciary subcommittee hearing, "Access to Justice Denied - Ashcroft v. Iqbal," stating his intention to cosponsor Rep. Nadler's bill to overturn the Supreme Court's Iqbal and Twombly decisions. (See post below.) Johnson is chairman of the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy, and he said he would quickly move to mark up the bill. Full Committee Chairman John Conyers is also on board.

Johnson's wandering statement included an unpleasant suggestion that federal judges might dismiss civil suits so they could land lucrative private sector jobs. At least that's how we read it:

It seems this measure penalizes plaintiffs as opposed to defendants, particularly in discrimination cases where you cannot uncover the wrongdoing without doing some basic discovery. And this decision would do away with that possibility because judges would be in the position to use their subjective wisdom, if you will, or perhaps even their desire to get a high-paying job in the future in the public sec...I mean the private sector, could be jeopardized if, - or it could be enhanced, I'll put it like that - by their ruling on a motion to dismiss based on inadequacy of the pleadings.


Transcribed from the hearing video.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.