Two recent Supreme Court decisions are shuttering courthouse doors to would-be plaintiffs, according to some lawmakers. At yesterday's hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, legislators questioned witnesses about the effects of Bell Atlantic v. Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, and pondered appropriate legislative responses.
Daphne Eviatar reports, at The Washington Independent:
House lawmakers appear divided along party lines. Democrats and their witnesses say that the Supreme Court's recent decisions ... have gutted the civil rights and antitrust laws and imposed an unfair and often insurmountable burden that will doom many valid claims. Republicans and their witnesses, meanwhile, say the court did the right thing to help reduce frivolous lawsuits that destroy small businesses and drag busy government officials into court unnecessarily.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who testified at Wednesday's hearing, has introduced legislation to effectively turn back the clock to before the Supreme Court's rulings by restoring the previous standard for filing claims.That legislation, HR 4115, the Open Access to Courts Act, was the focus of the hearing.
Two upcoming, star-studded ACS events address the topics raised in yesterday's hearing.
- Fri. December 18, 2009 (tomorrow!): At the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Thomas Perez, chief of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, will give an address in the wake of a General Accountability Office finding that civil rights went largely unenforced during the Bush administration. Click here for details, or to RSVP.
- Thur. January 21, 2010: Top experts examine Twombly, Iqbal, class action requirements and other procedural barriers to courts in two panels moderated by Professor Arthur R. Miller at New York University School of Law in New York City. The panels will follow a keynote address by Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. Click here for more.