Human rights litigation under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) has increased dramatically in the past few decades. Due to actions of a host of players around the world, this struggle for rights and remedies is dependent upon the rules of domestic court systems. Within U.S. civil litigation, two key lines of precedent affect human rights cases: the Supreme Court’s only sustained review of ATS subject-matter jurisdiction in Sosa and its introduction of the plausibility standard of pleading in Twombly–Iqbal. Considering courts’ initial applications of Twombly–Iqbal to motions to dismiss ATS cases, it becomes clear that courts do not consistently apply Sosa to questions of ATS jurisdiction. This confusion leads to two errors. First, courts do not always distinguish between motions challenging subject-matter jurisdiction and those challenging sufficiency of factual pleadings. Second, the conflation of these two types of motions leads some courts to improperly apply the standard of review of the latter (the Twombly–Iqbal plausibility standard) when hearing motions challenging the former (the Sosa standard for ATS subject-matter jurisdiction). The Note argues that courts should distinguish between types of motions and their attendant standards of review and properly apply each in their respective spheres. Based on both legal and policy analysis, the Note concludes that the appropriately limited application of the Twombly–Iqbal plausibility standard should not have major implications for human rights litigation under Sosa.
Volume 95 - No. 6
- Note: Big Enough To Matter: Whether Statistical Significance or Practical Significance Should Be the Test for Title VII Disparate Impact Claims
- Note: Of Mosquitoes, Adolescents, and Reproductive Rights: Public Health and Reproductive Risks in a Genomic Age
- Note: Payments on Debt After Discharge: When a Discharge Is Not Really a Discharge and the Limits of Taxpayer Recourse
- Inherent National Sovereignty Constitutionalism: An Original Understanding of the U.S. Constitution
- Reproduction Reconceived
© 2011-2016 Minnesota Law Review. All Rights Reserved.