Supreme Court remands Ashcroft immunity case

The US Supreme Court on May 18 ruled 5-4 in Ashcroft v. Iqbal that a complaint filed against former Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI director Robert Mueller and other officials failed to demonstrate an intentional pattern of discrimination. Pakistani national Javaid Iqbal, detained on an immigration violation in the wake of the 9-11 attacks, alleged mistreatment by the FBI based on religious and ethnic bias during his detention in a Brooklyn maximum security federal prison, and that Ashcroft and Meuller became complicit in the discrimination when they approved the policy that resulted in his detention.

Without ruling on the substance of the allegations, the Court remanded the case to the Second Circuit Court of appeals in New York so that it may decide whether to allow Iqbal an opportunity to amend his complaint. The Court also declined to rule on Ashcroft and Mueller’s assertion of qualified immunity.

“It should come as no surprise that a legitimate policy directing law enforcement to arrest and detain individuals because of their suspected link to the attack would produce a disparate, incidental impact on Arab Muslims,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority, even if “the purpose of the policy was to target neither Arab nor Muslims.” David Souter, joined by John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer, dissented. (Jurist, AlJazeera, May 18)

See our last post on the detainment scandal.

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