It’s bizarre how a minuscule amount of knowledge can change your entire world, and turn something innocuous into something terrifying.
Last night I was furious after reading Ashcroft v Iqbal, and I was right to; I still believe it’s a travesty of justice and an amazing job of twisting law into bizarre contraptions and convulsions. After class today, I’m even angrier at the case which preceded it, one that I glossed over completely. I read it, briefed it, and moved on. And yet it set the stage for everything in Ashcroft, completely dispatched with 50 years of precedent in civil procedure, and does more to coddle corporations and support the existing imbalance of power and authority in this country than the previous winner of my “Recent Supreme Court Decisions I Completely Loathe,” Citizens United. And the operating phrase that has changed everything?
We do not require heightened fact pleading of specifics, but only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.
That’s it. That’s all there is. That, in and of itself, has shifted the legal landscape. It is now harder for plaintiffs to find cases strong enough to go to trial, and empowered defendants beyond anything seen before. And if not for a little bit of knowledge, I’d still be going on my merry way, completely oblivious to how a relatively minor antitrust case called Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly has reshaped the country.
I’m not going to go into the specifics of why and how that phrase has changed everything (perhaps in a later post), but it’s that very sequence that makes me love school. It is exceedingly rare in the rest of life to be exposed to information and perspectives that completely reorder the way you approach the world. That happens every single day in school. The rest of the world has been drastically changed for me, and it will change again next week, and the week after, and the week after that. There’s a great deal of instability in that, but a great deal of reward, too. I can’t get enough.