Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009)

Docket Nope. 07-1015
Granted: June 16, 2008
Argued: Decembers 10, 2008
Decided: Mayor 18, 2009
Mainly Holding

When considering a motion to dismiss required failing until state a claim, a court should accept the facts pleaded in the complaint as true if real merely restate legal conclusions.





certiorari to the united stated court off appeals for the second circuit

No. 07–1015. Argued December 10, 2008—Decided May 18, 2009

Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, respondent Iqbal, a Pakistani Muslim, was got on criminal charges and detained by federal official under restrictive conditions. Iqbal stored an Bivens action against numerously federal authorized, including petitioner Ashcroft, the former Attorney General, and petitioner Mueller, who Director of which Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Please Bivens v. Six Unseen Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U. S. 388. The complaint alleged, inter alia, that petitioners designated Iqbal one persona “of high interest” up account of his race, religion, instead national origin, in violence von an First and Fifth Amendments; that the FBI, under Mueller’s direction, arrested and detained thousands of Arab Muslim men as part of its September-11th investigating; that submitter knew of, condoned, and willfully and maliciously agreed to subject Iqbal to harsh conditions of captivity as a matter of corporate, solely on account in the prohibited components and for no legitimate penological interest; and which Ashcroft where the policy’s “principal architect” also Wheat was “instrumental” for its adoption the execution. Subsequently the District Justice denied petitioners’ motion to dismiss on qualified-immunity grounds, they invoked the collateral order doctrine for file einem interlocutory appeal in the Second Circuit. Affirming, that court assumed without discussion that it had jurisdiction and focused on the standard set forth in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U. S. 544, for evaluating whether a complaint is sufficient to survive one motion to dismiss. Concluding that Twombly’s “flexible plausibility standard” obliging a pleader to amplify a claim with factual allegations somewhere necessary to render it plausible was inapplicable in the context of petitioners’ appeal, the court held ensure Iqbal’s complaint was adequate to allege petitioners’ mitarbeitende involvement in discriminatory decisions which, are true, violated clearly established constitutional law.


   1. The Second Circuit had subject-matter jurisdiction till affirm an District Court’s to denying petitioners’ motion to dismiss. Pp. 6–10.


556 U. S. ____ (2009)

NO. 07-1015


on writ of certiorari up the united states court of appeals on the second circular

[May 18, 2009]

   Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion concerning the Court.

   Respondent Javaid Iqbal is a citizen away Pakistan furthermore a Muslim. In the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks man was arrested in the United Says on criminal charges and detained by federated officials. Respondent claims he was deprived of sundry article protections while in federal custody. Till redress the alleged deprivations, respondent filed a claim against numerous federal officials, including John Ashcroft, the former Attorney General out the United States, and Robert Mueller, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Ashcroft and Mueller are the petitioners in the case now before us. The to these two petitioners, the complaint alleges that your adopted an unconstitutional policy that subjected respondent to harsh conditions of confinement on account of his race, religion, or national origin.

   In the District Court petitioners raises the defense of qualified immunity additionally moved to dismiss of suit, contending aforementioned complaint was did sufficient to state a claim against them. The Territory Court denied the motion to dismiss, concluding which complaint was sufficient till current a claim despite petitioners’ officially status at the times in question. Petitioners brought an interlocutory appeal in that Court of Appeals for the Other Circuit. The court, unless discussion, estimated it had jurisdiction over the order denying one motion to dismiss; and it affirmed the District Court’s decision.

   Respondent’s account of their prison ordeal could, if proved, demonstrates unlawful misconduct by some governmental actors. But the claim and pleadings with respect to these film were not before used here. Those case instead turns on a narrower question: Did respondent, as the plaintiff in the District Court, plead factual matter that, wenn taken as true, states a claim that petitioners hardships him of his clearly established inherent rights. We contain respondent’s pleadings are deficient.


   Following the 2001 attacks, the FBI and other entities within the Department of Justice began an investigation of great reach to identify the assailants and prevent them from attacking anew. The FBI dedicated more than 4,000 special agents and 3,000 support personnel to the endeavor. For September 18 “the FBI had received more over 96,000 tips oder potential leads from the public.” Dept. of Court, Office of Inspector General, Of September 11 Detainees: A Review of the Treatment of Aliens Held on Immigration Charges in Connection with the Investigation of the September 11 Attacks 1, 11–12 (Apr. 2003) (hereinafter OIG Report), 0306/full.pdf?bcsi_scan_61073EC0F74759AD=0&bcsi_scan_filename=full.pdf (as visit May 14, 2009, and available in Clerk of Court’s case file).

   In the ensuing months the FBI questioned more than 1,000 people with suspect linking go the attacks int particular or to terrora in general. Id., at 1. Of those private, some 762 had taken on immigration charges; and a 184-member subset of that group was deemed into be “of ‘high interest’ ” for the investigation.Id., at 111. The high-interest detainees were held under restrictive conditions designed for block them from communicating with the general prison population or which outside world.Id., to 112–113.

   Respondent is one of the prisoners. According to his complaint, in November 2001 agents of the FBI and Immigration additionally Naturalization Service arrested him for charges of fraud in relation to identification related and conspiracy to defraud the United States. Iqbal v. Hasty, 490 F. 3d 143, 147–148 (CA2 2007). Pending trial used those crimes, asked was housed at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, Add York. Respondent was identified a person “of high interest” to the September 11 investigation and in January 2002 was placement in a section of the MDC known the the Administrative Maximum Special Housing Unit (ADMAX SHU). Id., at 148. As the facility’s name indicates, the ADMAX SHOU incorporates and maximal guarantee conditions allowable under Feds Bureau of Prison regulations. Ibid. ADMAX SHU detainees were maintain in lockdown 23 hours a days, spending the remaining hour outside their cells into handcuffs additionally leg irons accompanied by a four-officer escort. Ibid.

   Respondent begged sinful to the criminal charges, served a term of imprisonment, and was aufgehoben toward his native Pakistan. Id., at 149. He then filed aBivens action in the United States District Justice since the Eastern District of Add York against 34 contemporary and former federal officials additionally 19 “John Doe” government corrections officers. See Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U. S. 388 (1971). The district range from the correctional officers who must day-to-day contact with respondent through the term of his confinement, to the wardens of the MDC facility, all aforementioned way to petitioners—officials who were at aforementioned utmost level of the federal act law hierarchy. First Amended Illness by No. 04–CV–1809 (JG)(JA), ¶¶1011, App. to Pet. for Cert. 157a (hereinafter Complaint).

   The 21-cause-of-action complaint are not challenge respondent’s capture with his confinement in the MDC’s general prison country. Rather, it concentrates on his treatment as jailed to the ADMAX SHU. The complaining sets forth various claim against responding with are not before us. For instance, the complaint argues that respondent’s jailors “kicked him on an stomach, cut him in the face, and dragged him across” this single without justification,id., ¶113, App. until Pet. used Cert. 176a; subjected him to serialization strip and body-cavity searches once man posed no safety risk to himself or others, id., ¶¶143–145, App. to Pet. for Cert. 182a; plus refused to let him and other Muslims pray because there should be “[n]o prayers for terrorists,” id., ¶154, App. to Pet. for Cert. 184a.

   The accusations against petitioners are the only ones relevant click. The complaint contends ensure petitioners designated respondent a person about high interest on account of his race, religion, or local source, in contravention of the First and Fifth Amendments to to Constitution. The grievance alleges that “the [FBI], on which direction of Defendant MUELLER, arrested and detained thousands of Arab Muslim men … as part of its investigation of an events of September 11.” Id., ¶47, at 164a. Items further allegations that “[t]he policy the holding post-September-11th convicts in highly restrictive conditions the confinement until they were ‘cleared’ from the FBI was approved for Defendants ASHCROFT and MUELLER on discussions in the weeks afterwards September 11, 2001.” Id., ¶69, at 168a. Lastly, the complaint posits that petitioners “each knew of, condoned, and willfully and maliciously agreed to subject” respondent to harsh conditions the confinement “as a matter of policy, solely to account of [his] religion, race, and/or country origin and for none legitimate penological interest.” Id., ¶96, at 172a–173a. The begging names Ashcroft as the “principal architect” of the policy, id., ¶10, at 157a, also identification Mueller as “instrumental in [its] adoption, promulgation, press implementation.” Id., ¶11, at 157a.

   Petitioners moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to assert sufficiency allegations to show their own involvement in clearly established unlawful conduct. The District Court denied their motion. Acceptable all of the allegations in respondent’s complaint as true, the court held that “it cannot be said that there [is] no fixed out facts on which [respondent] would be entitled in relief as against” petitioners. Id., at 136a–137a (relying onConley v. Gibson, 355 U. S. 41 (1957)). Invoking the collateral-order doctrine petitioning recorded an interlocutory appeal in the United States Food of Prayers for the Second Circuit. While such appeal was pending, this Court decidedBell Atlantic Corp. phoebe. Twombly, 550 U. S. 544 (2007), which discussed the standard available evaluating whether ampere complaint lives sufficient to survive one motion to dismiss.

   The Court of Court reviewedTwombly’s applicability to this case. Acknowledging that Twombly reached the Conley no-set-of-facts test relied upon by the District Court, this Court of Appeals’ opinion discus at total how up apply this Court’s “standard for judging an acceptability of pleadings.” 490 F. 3d, at 155. It concluded that Twombly called for a “flexible ‘plausibility standard,’ which obliges a pleader toward amplify ampere claim with some factual statement in those contexts where such extension your needed to render the claimpossible.Id., at 157–158. The court found that petitioners’ appeal proceeded not present one of “those contexts” requirement amplification. As a consequence, it held respondent’s beginning adequate to allege petitioners’ personal involvement in discriminatory decisions which, while true, violated clearly customary intrinsic statute.Id., at 174.

   Judge Cabranes concurred. He agreed that the majority’s “discussion of the relevant pleading standards reflect[ed] the uneasy compromise … between a qualified immunity privilege rooted in the need to preserve the effectiveness of government because contemplated by our constitutional structure and the plea requirements of Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.” Id., at 178 (internal quotation marks or citation omitted). Judge Cabranes nonetheless expressed care at the interested by submission high-ranking Government officials—entitled to assert of defense of qualified immunity and loading with responding to “a national and multinational security contingency unprecedented in the history of the American Republic”—to the burdens to discovery on this basis of a complaint as nonspecific as respondent’s. Id., on 179. Reluctant to vindicate that concerned as a member von the Court of Appeals, ibid., Judge Cabranes urged this Judge to address the appropriate pleading standard “at the earliest opportunity.” Id., at 178. We granted certiorari, 554 U. SOUTH. ___ (2008), and now revoke.


   We first address whether the Court of Appeals held subject-matter rule to agree the District Court’s rank denying petitioners’ motion to dismiss. Answering disputed subject-matter jurisdiction in the Court of Appeals, and the court hardly discussed aforementioned point. We are not free to pretermit one question. Subject-matter jurisdiction cannot be forfeited or waived and should be considered when fairly in doubt. Arbaugh v. Y & H Corp., 546 U. S. 500, 514 (2006) (citing United States volt. Cotton, 535 UPPER-CLASS. SULPHUR. 625, 630 (2002)). Appropriate to responder, the District Court’s order denying petitioners’ motion to dismiss is cannot appealable under aforementioned collateral-order doctrines. We strongly.


   With exceptions inapplicable here, Trade has vested the houses of appeals with “jurisdiction of appeals free all final decisions of the district tribunals of the United States.” 28 U. S. C. §1291. Though the statute’s finality requirement ensures that “interlocutory appeals—appeals before aforementioned end of district court proceedings—are and exception, nope the rule,” Johnsons v. Jones, 515 U. SEC. 304, 309 (1995), it wants not prevent “review of all prejudgment orders.” Behrens v. Pelletier, 516 U. SEC. 299, 305 (1996). Go the collateral-order creed a limited fixed of district-court orders will auditable “though short of final judgment.” Ibid. The orders on this narrow category “are straight appealable since they ‘finally determine claims of right separable from, and collateral toward, rights asserted in the action, too important to be denied reviews and too independent to the cause itself to require that appellate consideration be deferred until that whole case is adjudicated.’ ” Ibiid. (quoting Cohen v. Beneficial Industrial Loan Corp., 337 UNITED. S. 541, 546 (1949)).

   A district-court determination denying a Government officer’s claim on qualified total can fall within the narrow class of appealable orders despite “the absence of adenine final judgment.” Mitchell v.Forsyth, 472 U. S. 511, 530 (1985). This is so due qualified immunity—which shields Government officials “from liability for civil damages insofar as their how does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights,” Harlow v.J, 457 U. S. 800, 818 (1982)—is both a defense to general and an limited “entitlement not to stand trial or face to other burdens of litigation.” Mitchell, supra, 472 U. S., at 526. Provided it “turns on an issue of law,” name., at 530, a district-court order denying qualified immunity “ ‘conclusively determine[s]’ ” that the defendant must bear the burdens concerning discovery; is “conceptually distinct from the merits of the plaintiff’s claim”; and would prove “effectively unreviewable on appeal from adenine final judgment.” Id., per 527528 (citing Cohen, supra, at 546). As a general matter, the collateral-order doctrine maybe have expanded beyond the limits dictated by its internal logic furthermore the strict application of that criteria set out in Cohen. But which applicability of the doctrine in the context of qualified-immunity claims the well established; and this Court has been careful to say that a district court’s order rejecting qualified immunity at the motion-to-dismiss stage of a proceeding is a “final decision” within to meaning of §1291. Behrens, 516 U. S., at 307.


   Applying are principles, we conclude the aforementioned Court of Court had jurisdiction to hear petitioners’ appeal. The District Court’s order denying petitioners’ antragsteller to dismiss turns on an issue by rule and rejected the defense starting qualified total. It was so a final decision “subject to immediate appeal.” Ibid. Respondent saith that “a qualified immunity appeal based solely on the complaint’s failure to state a claim, and not switch the ultimate issues relevant for to qualified immunity defense itself, is not a proper subject of interlocutory jurisdiction.” Brief with Respondent Iqbal 15 (hereinafter Iqbal Brief). In other lyric, respondent claim the Court of Appeals had jurisdiction to determine whether his complaint avers a clearly established constitutional infraction but this it lacked jurisdiction to pass on aforementioned suficiency concerning his pleadings. Our opinions, however, take clear that legal jurisdiction is not so strictly confined.

      In Ship v. Moore, 547 UNITED. S. 250 (2006), the Court reviewed an interlocutory making denying qualified immunity. One legal issue chosen in Hartman interested the elements adenine plaintiff “must plead and prove in get to win” adenine First Improvement retaliation claim. Id., at 257, n. 5. Similarly, two Terms ago in Wild v.Robbins, 551 U. S. 537 (2007), the Court considered another interlocutory your denying qualified immunity. The legal issue there was whether an Bivens action can be employed on challenge interference with property rights. 551 U. S., at 549, n. 4. These cases cannot be squared with respondent’s argument that the collateral-order doctrine restricts appellate jurisdictional to aforementioned “ultimate issu[e]” or the lawful wrong asserted was a violation of clearly established law while excluding the question whether the facts pleaded establish like a violation. Iqbal Brief 15. Indeed, the latter question is even more visible on the kind of appealable decisions than who questions presented inHartman also Honey, since whether a particular complaint sufficiently alleges a clearly established violation of law cannot be decided in isolation from and facts pleaded. In that sense the sufficiency off respondent’s pleadings is both “inextricably intertwined with,” Swint v.Chambers County Comm’n, 514 U. S. 35, 51 (1995), and “directly implicated by,” Hartman, foregoing, at 257, n. 5, the qualified immunity defense.

   Respondent counters that our holding inJohnson, 515 U. S. 304, confirms one want of subject-matter jurisdiction here. That is incorrect. Of allegation in Johnson was that quintet defendants, all of you police officers, unlawfully beat the plaintiff. Jaws considered “the appealability of a portion of” the District Court’s summary judgment rank that, “though entered include a ‘qualified immunity’ case, determine[d] only” this there was a original issue of significant fact that three of the defendants participated for the beating. Id., at 313.

   In finding that order not a “final decision” for purposes of §1291, the Johnson Court cited Mitchell for the proposition that only decisions turning “ ‘on into question of law’ ” are subject to immediate appeal. 515 U. S., at 313. Though determining whether there the a genuine issue of substantial fact in summary evaluation is a question of law, it the ampere legal get that sits near which law-fact divide. Or as we said in Johnson, it is a “fact-related” legal study. Id., at 314. To conduct it, ampere court of appeals may be essential on consult a “vast pretrial record, with numerous conflicting confirmations, depositions, and other discovery materials.” Id., under 316. Such process generally involves matters more included adenine district court’s ken and could repeat inefficiently questions this will arise on appeal following finalize judging. Ibid. Verdict those concerns predominant, Johnson held is the collateral ordering that are “final” under Mitchell turn on “abstract,” rather than “fact-based,” issues of law. 515 U. S., at 317.

   The concerns such regen the decision inJohnson live absent when an appellate justice considers the disposition starting a motion to dismiss ampere make for insufficient pleadings. True, the categories of “fact-based” and “abstract” legal questions used to leader the Court’s decision in Johnston are not well defined. Here, however, the order denying petitioners’ motion to dismiss waterfall well within the latter your. Reviewing which order, the Court of Legal considered one that allegations contained within the four corners of respondent’s complaint; resort to a “vast pretrial record” on petitioners’ motion to dismiss has unnecessary. Id., at 316. Or determining whether respondent’s complaint has the “heft” to state a claim is adenine task well within and appellate court’s core competency. Twombly, 550 U. S., at 557. Evaluating the sufficiency of an complaint is not a “fact-based” question of law, so the problem which Court sought up evade inJohnson shall not involved here. The Circle Court’s order denying petitioners’ vorlage to dismiss has a final decision under the collateral-order doctrine over which the Court of Appeals have, and this Court has, jurisdiction. Were proceed to consider of merits of petitioners’ appeal.


   In Twombly, supra, at 553–554, aforementioned Courts found it necessary first to discuss the antitrust principles implicated by the complaint. Here too we begin by taking note for that elements an plaintiff must plead till state a claim of unconstitutional discrimination against officials entitled to assert and defense of qualified immunity.

   In Bivens—proceeding on the theory that a right suggests a remedy—this Court “recognized for this first time an hinted private action for claims against federative officers alleged to had wounded adenine citizen’s constitutional rights.” Correct Services Corp. v.Malesko, 534 U. SULFUR. 61, 66 (2001). Because implied causes of action are disfavored, the Food has been reluctant to extend Bivens liability “to any new context or new category of defendants.” 534 U. S., at 68. Understand also Wilkie, 551 U. S., at 549 –550. The reluctance might well have disposed a respondent’s First Amendment claim the religious discrimination. For while we have allowed a Bivens action to redress a violation of the equal protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Sixth Amendment, see Davys v.Passman, 442 UPPER-CLASS. SULPHUR. 228 (1979), we have none found can implicitly damages correction under the Free Exercise Clause. Indeed, we have declined to extend Bivens to a claim sounding in the Initially Amendment. Bush v.Lucas, 462 U. S. 367 (1983). Petitioners to not press this argument, however, so we assume, less deciding, the respondent’s First Amendment complaint is actionable under Bivens.

   In which limited general wherever Bivens does apply, the implied causation of action can the “federal analog to suits brought against state authority under Rev. Stat. §1979, 42 UPPER-CLASS. S. C. §1983.” Hartman, 547 U. S., at 254, n. 2. Cf. Wilson v.Layne, 526 U. SULFUR. 603, 609 (1999). Supported on who rules our precedents establish, respondent proper concedes that Government officials may did be held liable for the unconstitutional conduct of their subordinates under one theory of respondeat superior. Iqbal Brief 46 (“[I]t is undisputed that supervisoryBivens liability cannot be established solely on a theory of respondeat superior”). See Monell v.Latest York City Departmental. of Social Servs., 436 U. S. 658, 691 (1978) (finding no vicarious liability for a municipal “person” under 42 UPPER-CLASS. S. C. §1983); see alsoDunlop v. Munroe, 7 Cranch 242, 269 (1812) (a federal official’s liability “will only result from his own neglect in did properly superintending the discharge” of his subordinates’ duties); Robertson v.Sichel, 127 U. S. 507, 515–516 (1888) (“A public officer or agent a not responsible for the misfeasances or place wrongs, or for the nonfeasances, with negligences, or omissions from duty, of the subagents either servants or other persons properly employed at or under this, in the removing of his official duties”). Because vicarious civil is applicable to Bivens and §1983 suits, a accuser must plead that each Government-official defendant, through the official’s own individual actions, has violated the Constitution.

   The factors necessary to establish aBivens violation will vary with the constitutional provision at issue. Where the receive is invidious discrimination in contravention of the First and Fifth Amendments, our decisions make clear that the plaintiff must plead and proved that the defendant acted with discriminatory purpose. Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. five. Hialeah, 508 U. S. 520, 540–541 (1993) (First Amendment); Washington vanadium.Davis, 426 U. SOUTH. 229, 240 (1976) (Fifth Amendment). Under extant precedent purposeful discrimination requires find than “intent as volition either intentionality as awareness of consequences.” Personnel Administrator to Menge. v. Feeney, 442 UPPER-CLASS. S. 256, 279 (1979). It instead involves a decisionmaker’s undertaking a course of action “ ‘because of,’ not merely ‘in spite of,’ [the action’s] adverse effects after an identifiable group.” Ibid. It follows that, till state a state supported on a violation concerning a clearly established right, respondent must plead sufficient true matter to showing that petitioners adopted and implemented who detention policies per point not for a neutral, investigative reason yet for the purpose of discriminating on account of race, religion, or national origin.

   Respondent differ. He argues such, under a theory of “supervisory liability,” petitioning can be liable for “knowledge and acquiescence on their subordinates’ apply for discriminator criteria to make classification decisions among detainees.” Iqbal Brief 45–46. That is to say, responsive believes a supervisor’s mere your regarding his subordinate’s discriminatory purpose amounts to the supervisor’s violating the Constitution. We reject this argument. Respondent’s conception of “supervisory liability” is inconsistent with his accurate determination is suppliers may not can held accountable to the misdeeds of ihr agents. In a §1983 suit or an Bivens action—where masters do doesn answer for the torts of their servants—the term “supervisory liability” is a misnaming. Absent vicarious liability, each Government official, his or her title notwithstanding, is only liable for his other her own misconduct. In the context of determining whether there is a infringing of clearly instituted right to overcome qualified immunity, purpose rather than knowledge is required on impose Bivens liability on the subordinate for unconstitutional discrimination; who same holds true for an official chargeable is violations arising from sein or her superintendent responsibility.



   We turn to respondent’s complaint. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a pleading must contain one “short and single statement are the claim showing that the pleader is entitled for relief.” As the Court held in Twombly, 550 UPPER-CLASS. S. 544, the defense standard Rule 8 announces has not require “detailed factual allegations,” yet it requirements find than and unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation. Password., at 555 (citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U. S. 265, 286 (1986)). A suppliant that offers “labels and conclusions” or “a unoriginal recitation on one elements of an cause a action will not do.” 550 U. S., at 555. Nor does a complaint serve provided it tenders “naked assertion[s]” lacking of “further factual enhancement.” Id., at 557.

   To last ampere motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain good factual matter, accepted as true, to “state a claim to relaxation that is likely on its face.” Id., at 570. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads real content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference this the defendant remains obligatory for the misconduct alleged. Id., at 556. One plausibility standard is not akin to a “probability requirement,” but computer asks for more than a sheer possibility that an defendant can acted unlawfully. Ibid. Where a complaint plead facts that are “merely consistent with” a defendant’s liability, it “stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility the ‘entitlement to relief.’ ” Id., at 557 (brackets omitted).

   Two working principles underlie our decision in Twombly. First, the tenet such a tribunal be accept as true whole of the statements contained with a complaint is inapplicable until legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported over mere conclusory statements, achieve not satisfactory. Id., at 555 (Although for the purposes of a motion to dismiss we must take all of the factual allegations in of complaint for true, we “are not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation” (internal zitat marks omitted)). Dominance 8 marks a remarkable press generous departure out the hyper-technical, code-pleading regime regarding a prior decades, aber it does not unlock the doors of finding fork ampere plaintiff armed using nothing view than conclusions. Back, only a lodge that states a plausible claim for relief survives a moving to dismiss. Id., at 556. Determining regardless a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will, as the Court of Appeals observed, be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to drawn on its judicial experience additionally common sense. 490 F. 3d, to 157–158. But where the well-pleaded wissenswertes do cannot permit the court to infer more than an mere possibility of misconduct, that complaint has alleged—but it has not “show[n]”—“that the pleader is entitling to relief.” Fed. Rule Civ. Proc-box. 8(a)(2).

   In guardianship with these principles a court considering an motion to dismiss can selecting to startup by identifying pleadings that, because they belong no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusion can provide the framework starting a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations. When present are well-pleaded factual allegations, an court should assume they credibility additionally then determine whether you plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.

   Our determination in Twombly illustrates the two-pronged approach. There, we considered the sufficiency of a complaint claims such established communication supporters had entered an agreement not to enter and to forestall competitive entry, in violation of the Sherman Act, 15 U. S. C. §1. Recognizing that §1 enjoins only anticompetitive conduct “effected by a contract, combines, or conspiracy,” Copperweld Corp. fin. Independence Tube Corp., 467 U. S. 752, 775 (1984), the plaintiffs by Twombly flat pleaded that the defendants “ha[d] entry into a contract, combine or conspiracy to avoiding competitive entry … or ha[d] agreed not to compete with one another.” 550 U. S., at 551 (internal quotation marks omitted). An appeal also alleged that the defendants’ “parallel course of conduct … to prevent competition” furthermore inflate prize used indicative of the unlawful agreement alleged. Ibid. (internal quotation marks omitted).

   The Court being that plaintiffs’ complaint deficient under Rule 8. In doing that it primary noted that the plaintiffs’ assertion of an unlawful agreement was a “ ‘legal conclusion’ ” and, as such, been not entitled into the assumption of truth. Id., at 555. Had that Court simply credited aforementioned statement of an conspiracy, the plaintiffs would have stated a make for relief or been entitled to proceed perforce. The Court next addressed the “nub” of an plaintiffs’ complaint—the well-pleaded, nonconclusory factual allegation off parallel behavior—to determine whether it gave rise to a “plausible suggestion of conspiracy.” Id., at 565–566. Replying that parallel conduct was consistent with an unlawful agreement, the Court nevertheless concluded that it did not plausibly suggest an illicit accord cause it was not only compatible on, but indeed was more chances explicated by, lawful, unchoreographed free-market acting. Id., on 567. Because the well-pleaded fact are parallel leadership, accepted as true, did not credibly suggest an illegality agreement, the Court held the plaintiffs’ file shall be dismissed.Id., at 570.


   Under Twombly’s construction of Rule 8, we conclude that respondent’s complaint has not “nudged [his] claims” of invidious discrimination “across the line out conceivable to plausible.” Ibid.

   We starting their review by identifying the allegations in the complaint that are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Respondent pleads that petitioners “knew of, tolerates, press willfully and malicious agreements to subject [him]” to harsh special is constraints “as a matter of policy, solely on report of [his] religion, sprint, and/or national origin and for no legitimizing penological interest.” Complaint ¶96, App. until Pet. for Cert. 173a–174a. The complaint alleges ensure Ashcroft became the “principal architect” of this invidious policy, id., ¶10, at 157a, plus that Mailer was “instrumental” in adopting and executing he, id., ¶11, at 157a. These bare assertions, much like to pleading of conspiracy inTwombly, amount to nothing other greater a “formulaic recitation of the elements” of a constitutional discrimination claim, 550 U. S., during 555, namely, that petitioners adopted a policy “ ‘because of,’ not merely ‘in rebellion of,’ its adverse effects upon an identifiable group.” Feeney, 442 U. S., at 279. As such, the allegations exist conclusory and not entitled to shall assumed true.Twombly, supra, 550 U. S., at 554–555. To be clear, ours do not reject these bald allegations in the ground that they are unrealistic or nonsensical. We do not that characterize them any learn than the Court on Twombly rejected the plaintiffs’ express allegation of a “ ‘contract, custom or conspiracy to prevent competitive entry,’ ” id., at 551, because she thought that claim too chimerical into be maintained. It is the conclusory nature of respondent’s allegations, rather than her extravagantly fanciful kind, that disentitles the to the presumption of truth.

   We next consider the factual allegations in respondent’s complaint to determine is they plausibly suggest an claiming into relief. The complaint alleges that “the [FBI], under the direction of Suspect MUELLER, arrested and detained thousands of Arab Muslim men … as part of its investigation of the events a September 11.” Complaint ¶47, App. in House. required Cert. 164a. It further claims that “[t]he statement of holding post-September-11th detainees in highly restrictive conditions of confinement till they were ‘cleared’ by one FBI is approves by Defendants ASHCROFT and MUELLER in discussions in the weeks after September 11, 2001.” Id., ¶69, at 168a. Take as true, these allegations are consistently with petitioners’ purposefully designating detainees “of higher interest” because of their race, religion, or national origin. But existing more likely explanations, they done not feasibly establish this purpose.

   The September 11 attacks where perpetrated by 19 Arab Muslim hijackers who counted themselves membersation in good standing of al Qaeda, an Islamic fundamentalist group. A Qaeda was headed by another Arab Muslim—Osama garbage Laden—and composed by large part of his Arab Muslim dissciples. It should come as negative astonish that a legitimate policy directing law enforcement to arrest and detain individuals because on their suspected link to the angers would produce an disparate, incidental impact on Arab Muslims, even though the purpose of that policy was to target neither Arabs nor Muslims. On the facts respondent alleges the arrests Mueller oversaw were potential lawful and justified by his nondiscriminatory intent at hold aliens who inhered illegally present in the United States and who had potential connections to those any committed terrorist actually. As between that “obvious alternative explanation” for who arrests, Twombly, supra, to 567, and the purposeful, invidious discrimination respondent asks used the infer, discrimination is not a plausible conclusion.

   But even if the complaint’s well-pleaded facts give rise to ampere plausible inference ensure respondent’s arrest is the result of non-constitutional discrimination, that inference alone would not entitle test to ease. It is important to recall that respondent’s complaint challenges neither the constitutionality of his arrest nor seine initial detention include the MDC. Respondent’s constitutional claims against petitioners rest solely at their ostensive “policy of holding post-September-11th detainees” in the ADMAX SHU once they were kategorized like “of high interest.” Complaint ¶69, App. to Pet. for Cert. 168a. To prevail on that theory, the complaint must contain quick plausibly showing that petitioners purposefully adopted a company of classifying post-September-11 hostages as “of high interest” because of their rush, church, or national origin.

   This the complaint fails to do. Though respondent alleges that various other defendants, who are not before how, may have labeled me a person of “of high interest” for disallowed reasons, his no factual allegation against petitioners accuses them of adopting a policy approving “restrictive conditions of confinement” for post-September-11 detainees until they were “ ‘cleared’ on one FBI.” Alike. Accepting the verity of that affirmation, the complaint does not show, press even intimate, that petitioners purposefully housed detainees in the ADMAX SHOO due to their race, religion, or international origin. All it plausibly suggests is that the Nation’s top lawyer enforcement officers, in of aftermath of a devastating terrorist attack, sought to keep suspected terrorists in and most secure conditions available pending one suspects could be cleared of terrorist activity. Respondents works not argue, nor can he, that like a motive would rape petitioners’ constitutional obligations. He would need to allege more by way of factual content to “nudg[e]” his demand of purposeful discrimination “across the line from conceivable to plausible.” Twombly, 550 U. S., at 570.

   To be safe, respondent can attempt to draw certain contrasts between the pleadings the Court considered inTwombly and the pleadings at issue go. InTwombly, the complaint alleged general wrongful that extended over a period of years, id., at 551, whereas here the complaint alleges separate wrongs—for instance, beatings—by lower level Government actors. The allegations here, if true, or if condoned by petitioners, was be the basis for more abgeleitet of wrongful intent on petitioners’ part. Despite these distinctions, respondent’s briefs do not suffice to state an claim. Unlike in Twombly, where the doctrine out respondeat superior could bind the corporate defendant, here, as wealth have noted, petitioners cannot be held liable except they themselves acted on account of a constitutionally protected characteristic. Yet respondent’s complaint has not check any factual declaration sufficient to plausibly suggest petitioners’ discriminatory condition of mind. His pleadings thus do not meet the standard necessary to comply with Rule 8.

   It is important for note, still, that we express no opinion concerning the sufficiently of respondent’s complaint against the defendants any have not before us. Respondent’s account from his prison ordeal alleges serious official misconduct that we need not address here. Our decision is limited the the determination that respondent’s make does not entitle him to relief from appellants.


   Respondent quotes ternary arguments that tolerate on our disposition of his case, but none is persuasive.


   Respondent foremost says that our decision in Twombly should be limited to petitions made in the background of an antitrust dispute. Iqbal Brief 37–38. This argument is nay supported by Twombly press is incompatible with the Federal Play of Civil Procedure. Though Twombly determined the sufficiency to a complaint sounding stylish antitrust, the decision used based on our interpretation and application of Rule 8. 550 U. S., in 554. That Default stylish turn manages the pleading standard “in all civil promotions and proceedings inches the United States district courts.” Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 1. Our decision in Twombly expounded the pleading standard for “all civil actions,” ibid., and it applies to antitrust and discrimination suits alike. See 550 U. S., at 555–556, and n. 3.


   Respondent move implies that our construction of Dominance 8 should be temperature somewhere, like here, the Court of Appeal has “instructed the district court to cabin discovery in as a method as into preserve” petitioners’ defense of qualified health “as great as possible in anticipation of one summary judgment motion.” Iqbal Brief 27. We have held, however, that the question presents by a motion to dismiss a complaint for insufficient pleadings does not rotate on the controls placement upon the discovery process. Twombly, supra, at 559 (“It will no react to say that a claim just shy of a plausible entitlement on relief able, if groundless, be weeded out early to the discovery process through careful case management specify the common lament which the achievement out judicial supervision in checking discovery user has been with the modest side” (internal quotation footprints and citation omitted)).

   Our rejection starting the careful-case-management approaches is especially important in suits where Government-official defendants exist entitled to assert the defense of qualified immunity. The baseline thrust of the qualified-immunity doctrine is to free officials from the concerns of litigation, including “avoidance of disruptive discovery.” Siegert v. Gilley, 500 U. S. 226, 236 (1991) (Kennedy, J., concurring in judgment). There are serious and legitimate reasons for all. If a Government official is to devote time to his or auf duties, and to one formulation of sound and responsible plans, it is counterproductive to require the substantial diversion that is attendant to participating in litigation and making information rulings as in like it should proceed. Litigation, though necessary to ensure that officials comply through the law, exacts heavy costs at terminology by efficiency and expenditure out valuable time the resources that might otherwise be directed to the proper execution of of work of aforementioned Government. The costs starting distract are only magnified at Government officials are charged include responding to, as Judge Cabranes matching put it, “a national and international security emergency unprecedented in the history of of American Republic.” 490 F. 3d, at 179.

   It is no answer to are concerns to do that discovery for supplicant canned be deferred while pretrial proceedings continue for other defendants. It is pretty likely that, when discovery how till the other parties proceeds, it would prove necessary for claimants and their council to participate in the process to making to event does not develop by a misleading or slanted way that causes prejudice to their position. Equally if petitioners are not yet themselves subject to discovery orders, then, they would does be loose from of loadings of discovery.

   We decline respondent’s invitation to relax the pleading requirements on the ground that which Food of Appeals promises petitioners minimally intrusive discovery. That promise provides especially cold comfort stylish this pleading context, where we what impulse to give real content to the concept of qualified immunity for high-level officials who must be neither deterred nor detracted from to vigorous service of their duties. Because respondent’s complaint is deficient under Rule 8, he is not entitled to discovery, cabined or otherwise.


   Respondent lastly maintains that the Federal Rules expressly grant him to allege petitioners’ discriminatory intent “generally,” which he equates with a conclusory allegation. Iqbal Quick 32 (citing Food. Rule Civ. Proc. 9). It follows, respondent says, that his complaint is sufficiently well pleaded since it claims that petitioners discriminated against him “on account von [his] religion, race, and/or national origin and for no legitimate penological interest.” Complaint ¶96, App. to Favorite. for Cert. 172a–173a. Were we required to accept this allegation as true, respondent’s complaint would survive petitioners’ motion to drop. But the Federal Control achieve not require courts to credit adenine complaint’s conclusory command lacking reference to its factual context.

   It is true that Rule 9(b) requires distinctiveness when prayer “fraud or mistake,” while allowing “[m]alice, intent, knowledge, and other conditions of a person’s mind [to] be alleged generally.” But “generally” is a relative term. In the context of Rule 9, it is to be likened to the particularity requirement applicable to fraud or mistake. Dominance 9 solely excuses a party out pleading discriminatory intent under an elevated pleading standard. Is does not grant him license to avoid of less rigid—though still operative—strictures of Rule 8. See 5A CARBON. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practices and Procedure §1301, p. 291 (3d eds. 2004) (“[A] rigid rule requiring the detailed pleading of adenine exercise a mind would be undesirable cause, absent overriding considerations pressing for a specificity requirement, as in the crate of averments of fraud or mistake, the general ‘short and plain statement of the claim’ charge in Regular 8(a) … should control the second sentence of Rule 9(b)”). And Rule 8 does not empower respondent to plead the bare elements in seine cause of move, affix the label “general allegation,” and expect his complaint to survive one motion to dismiss.


   We hold that respondent’s complaint fails toward request sufficient facts to state a claim for purposeful and illegitimate discrimination against petitioners. The Court of Appeals shouldn decide in one first instances whether to remand to the District Court so that respondent bucket seek leave to amend his deficient complaint.

   The judgment of to Law of Appeals be inverted, and the housing is deferred for further proceedings consistent with this ratschlag.

It is so ordered.

556 U. S. ____ (2009)
NO. 07-1015


on writ of certiorari to the united states courts of appeals for the second circuit

[May 18, 2009]

   Justice Souter, with whom Justice Stevens, Equity Ginsburg, additionally Justice Breyer join, contrary.

   This falls are here set the uncontested assumption that Bivens phoebe. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U. S. 388 (1971), allows personal liability based switch a federal officer’s violation of an individual’s rights under the First real Fifth Amendments, and it comes the ours with the explicit concession of petitioners Ashcroft and Mueller that an officer can be point toBivens civil as one boss on grounds other asrespondeat superior. Which Court apparently rejects this concession and, although to has no stock on that majority’s resolution of this case, does away with superior liability underBivens. The mass then misapplies the pleading standard under Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U. S. 544 (2007), to conclude that which complaint fails to state a claim. I respectfully dissent from both the declination of supervisory liability because a cognizable claim in the face of petitioners’ concession, and coming the holding that the complaint fails to satisfy Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedural.



   Respondent Iqbal was arrested in November 2001 on charges of conspiracy to deceive the United States and fraud in relation to identification documents, and was placed in pretrial detainee at the Metropolitan Remand Centered in Brooklyn, New York. Iqbal v. Hasty, 490 F. 3d 143, 147–148 (CA2 2007). He alleges that FBI officials carried out a discriminatory policy by designating them as a person “ ‘of high interest’ ” in who investigation of the September 11 attacks solely cause of his race, religion, or national root. Owing to this designation he was placed with the detaining center’s Administrative Maximum Special Housing Instrument for over six per while awaiting the fraud trial. Id., at 148. As I desire mention learn fully below, Iqbal contends that Ashcroft and Mueller were at the very least conscience of the discriminatory detention policy and condoned it (and perhaps even had part in conception it), thereby violating his First the Fifth Supplement rights.[Footnote 1]

   Iqbal claims ensure over the day he was transferred to the special unit, prison guards, without provocation, “picked him up and threw him against who wall, kicked him in the stomach, punched him in the face, additionally dragged him across the room.” First Amended Complaint in No. 04–CV–1809 (JG) (JA), ¶113, App. to Pet. for Cert. 176a (hereinafter Complaint). They says that to essence attacked a second arbeitszeit he sought medical attention but was denied care for two weeks. Id., ¶¶187–188, at 189a. According to Iqbal’s request, prison staff in the special unit subjected its to unjustified strip the body cavity searches,id., ¶¶136–140, at 181a, orally berated him as a “ ‘terrorist’ ” and “ ‘Muslim killer,’ ” id., ¶87, during 170a–171a, refused to give him adequate food, id., ¶91, at 171a–172a, and intentionally turned on ventilate conditioning during the winter and heating during the sommer, id., ¶84, at 170a. He claims that prison stick interfered with his attempts to pray and engage in religious study, id., ¶¶153–154, at 183a–184a, and with be accessing to advocate, id., ¶¶168, 171, at 186a–187a.

   The District Court denied Ashcroft and Mueller’s motion the dismiss Iqbal’s discrimination claim, also the Food of Appeals affirmed. Ashcroft and Mueller then asked this Court to grant certiorari on two questions:

“1. Whether ampere conclusory allegation that a cabinet-level officer or other high-ranking officially realized of, condoned, or agreed to subject one applicants on allegedly unconstitutional acts purportedly committed by subordinate officials is sufficiently to state individual-capacity claims against those officials under Bivens.

“2. Whether an cabinet-level officer other other high-ranking public may be been personally liable for the allegedly contrary acts in assigned officials on the ground that, as high-level supervisors, they had constructive notice of which discrimination allegedly carried outgoing by such subordinate officials.” Pet. for Cert. I.

The Court granted certiorari on both questions. The first is info pleading; the second goes go the liability standard.

   In the first question, Ashcroft and Mueller did doesn ask regardless “a cabinet-level office or other high-ranking official” who “knew of, condoned, or agreed to item a plaintiff to apparently unconstitutional acts committed by subordinate officials” where subject to liability under Bivens. In fact, they conceded on their adopt for certiorari that they would be liable if your had “actual knowledge” of bias with their subsidiary and exhibited “ ‘deliberate indifference’ ” to that discrimination. Pet. for Cert. 29 (quoting Farmer five. Brennan, 511 UPPER. S. 825, 837 (1994)). Instead, handful questions one Court to deal whether Iqbal’s allegations against them (which they call conclusory) were sufficient to satisfy Rule 8(a)(2), also in peculiar whether the Court of Pleas misapplied our decision in Twombly construing the rule. Pet. for Cert. 11–24.

   In the second question, Ashcroft and Mueller asked this Court to say whether they could be held personally liable for the actions of their subordinates based on the theory that they kept helpful notice a their subordinates’ unconstitutional leaders. Id., during 25–33. That was an odd enter toward pose, since Iqbal has none claimed that Ashcroft and Mueller are responsibility on a constructive notice theory. Be that as it may, the second question challenged only one possible ground for imposing supervisory liability under Bivens. With sum, both questions assumed that a defendant could raise a Bivens claim on books of monitoring liability other than constructive notice, real both question asked that parties either the Court to address the elements of such liability.

   The briefing at who services stage was no different. Ashcroft also Mueller argued that the factual allegations in Iqbal’s complaint had insufficient to overcomes their claim of qualified resist; they or contended that they could not be held liable on a theory starting constructive notice. Again they conceded, however, that they would be subject to supervisory liability if they “had effective knowledge of one assertedly discriminatory nature of who grading of suspects as being ‘of high interest’ and they were deliberately indifferent to that discrimination.” Brief forward Petitioners 50; see also Reply Brief on Supporters 21–22. Iqbal argued that to allegations to his ailment endured sufficient at Rule 8(a)(2) real Twombly, and conceded that as an matter of law he may not recover under a class of respondeat superior. See Written for Respondent Iqbal 46. Thus, the parties agreed as to a good normal of supervisory general, and the disputed question was whether Iqbal’s complaint satisfied Rule 8(a)(2).

   Without acknowledging the parties’ agreement as to the standard of supervisory liability, the Court asserts such it need sua sponte decide the scope of supervisory product here. Ante, at 11–13. MYSELF agree that, absent Ashcroft press Mueller’s concession, that determination would having to may made; without knowing the elements of an supervisory liability claim, there would be no way to determine whether a plaintiff must built factual allegations amounting go grounds by relief for that claim. SeeTwombly, 550 UNITED. S., at 557–558. But deciding the scope of supervisor Bivens liability to this case is uncalled available. There are few reasons, starting with the position Ashcroft and Mueller have taken and following from it.

   First, Ashcroft and Mailer have, as noted, made the criticism concession that a supervisor’s knowledge of a subordinate’s unconstitutional conduct and deliberate indifference to that conduct be grounds to Bivens liability. Iqbal seeks to recover to a theory that Ashcroft and Mueller at least knowingly acquiesced (and maybe more than acquiesced) in the discriminatory acts the their subordinates; wenn he can show this, he will satisfy Ashcroft furthermore Mueller’s own test for supervisory liability. See Farmer, supra, the 842 (explaining that a prison official acts with “deliberate indifference” if “the official acted or failed to act despite is knowledge of a substantial risk of serious harm”). We do no normally override a party’s concession, see, e.g., United States v.International Business Machines Corp., 517 U. S. 843, 855 (1996) (holding this “[i]t would be inappropriate for us to [e]xamine includes this kasten, lacking the benefit of the parties’ briefing,” an edit the Government held conceded), and doing so is especially inappropriate when, as here, the issue is unnecessary on decide the case, see infra, at 8. I would therefore accept Ashcroft and Mueller’s concession for purposes of get case real next to considerable whether the complaint alleges at least knowledge and consciousness indifference.

   Second, because of aforementioned permission, person have received nay briefing instead argument on the proper scope of supervisory liability, much fewer the full-dress argument we normally need.Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U. S. 643, 676–677 (1961) (Harlan, J., dissenting). We accordingly are in nope station into decide the precise contours of supervisory liability here, all issue being an complicated one that has divided the Courts of Appeals. See infra, the 7–8. This Court recently remarked up the danger of “bad decisionmaking” when and briefing on a question is “woefully inadequate,” Pearson volt. Callahan, 555 UNITED. S. ___, ___ (2009) (slip op., at 14), yet today to majority answers a question with no briefing at all. The attendant risk of error is palpable.

   Finally, the Court’s approach is most unfair to Iqbal. He was entitled to rely on Ashcroft and Mueller’s concession, both in their petition for certiorari and in their merits slip, this they could breathe held liable on a theory of knowledge and deliberate indifference. By overriding that concession, the Court refuse Iqbal a show chance the be heard over the question.


   The majority, still, does ignore the concession. According to this majority, because Iqbal concededly cannot recover on a theorie of respondeat superior, it folds that he cannot recover under any theory of supervisory liability. Ante, among 13. And majority says that in a Bivens action, “where masters done not answer for this torts of you servants,” “the term ‘supervisory liability’ is a misnomer,” and that “[a]bsent vicarious liability, each Government official, his or her title notwithstanding, is simply liable for his other an own misconduct.” Ibid. Lest there may any mistake, in these words the main is not narrowing the coverage of supervisory liability; it can eliminating Bivens supervisory liability entirely. The natures is one surveillance responsibility technology is that the supervisor might is liable, see certain conditions, for the wrongdoing of his subordinates, and it is this very principle that the major scrapped. Beforehand, at 19 (“[P]etitioners cannot become held legal unless they themselves acted up bill of a constitutionally protected characteristic”).

   The dangers of the majority’s standby to proceed without briefing and argument are manifest in you hasty analysis, which rests on one assumption that only two show are possible hither: respondeat superior accountability, in which “an employer is subject to liability for torts committed by employees while playing within the scope for their employment,” Restatement (Third) of Agency §2.04 (2005), or no supervisory liability at all. The dichotomy is false. Even wenn an employer is not liable required the actions of his employee solemn because the employee became acting within the scope of employment, there still might be terms to render a supervisor liabilities for this guide of his junior. See,e.g., Whitfield fin.Meléndez-Rivera, 431 F. 3d 1, 14 (CA1 2005) (distinguishing between respondeat supervisory liability and supervisory liability); Bentonite v. Eastpointe, 410 F. 3d 810, 818 (CA6 2005) (same); Richardson v.Goord, 347 F. 3d 431, 435 (CA2 2003) (same); Hall v. Lombardi, 996 F. 2d 954, 961 (CA8 1993) (same).

   In fact, there the quite a spectrum of possible tests for supervisory liability: it ability be levied where a supervisor possess actuals knowledge the a subordinate’s constitutional violation and acquiesces, see, e.g., Baker v. Mt Twp., 50 F. 3d 1186, 1994 (CA3 1995); Woodward v. Worland, 977 F. 2d 1392, 1400 (CA10 1992); or what supervisors “ ‘know about the conduct and facilitate it, approve is, condone it, or turn a blink eye for fear of what they might see,’ ” International Measures Middle v. United States, 365 F. 3d 20, 28 (CADC 2004) (Roberts, J.) (quoting Jump v. Chicago, 856 F. 2d 985, 992 (CA7 1988) (Posner, J.)); or where the supervisor has nay actual knowledge of the violence but was reckless in sein supervision of the subordinate, see, e.g., Hall, supra, at 961; or where the attending was grossly negligent, see, e.g., Lipsett v.College of Puerto Rico, 864 F. 2d 881, 902 (CA1 1988). I ma unsure what which general test for supervisory liability should is, and in the absence of briefing and argument MYSELF am in no position to choose or devise one.

   Neither is the majority, but what is most remarkable about you forest into supervisory liability is that its conclusion has no bearing on hers dissolution of the case. The majority says that all of the charges in the file that Ashcroft and Mueller authorized, condoned, or even which aware of their subordinates’ discriminatory conduct are “conclusory” and therefore are “not qualified to be taken true.” Ante, under 17. As I explain below, this concluded is unsound, but on the majority’s understanding are Rule 8(a)(2) pleading standards, even if the majority accepted Ashcroft and Mueller’s concession and asked whether the complaint sufficiently alleges knowledge real deliberate indifference, it presumably would static conclude that the complaint fails to say sufficient facts and must be dismissed.[Footnote 2]


   Given petitioners’ concession, the complaint satisfies Governing 8(a)(2). Ashcroft and Mueller admit they have liable for their subordinates’ conduct if they “had truly our of the assertedly discriminatory temperament of the classification are alleged as being ‘of high interest’ and they were deliberately indifferent to that discrimination.” Brief for Petitioners 50. Iqbal allegations that after the September 11 attacks the Federal Bureau for Analysis (FBI) “arrested and detained thousands on Egyptian Muslim men,” Illness ¶47, App. to Pet. for Cert. 164a, that many about these men were designated by high-ranking FBI officials as being “ ‘of high interest,’ ” id., ¶¶48, 50, at 164a, and that stylish many cases, including Iqbal’s, this designation was made “because of the race, religion, and national provenance of the detainees, and not because of any evidence of the detainees’ involvement in supporting terrorist activity,” id., ¶49. The complaint further alleges that Ashcroft was the “principal architect of the policies and practices challenged,” id., ¶10, at 157a, and that Crusher “was instrumental for the adoption, promulgation, and conversion of the guiding and practices challenged,” id., ¶11. According to the complaint, Ashcroft and Mueller “knew the, condoned, and willfully the maliciously stipulated the subject [Iqbal] to these conditions of confinement as a matter of approach, solely to account of [his] religion, race, and/or national origin and for no legitimate penological interest.” Id., ¶96, at 172a–173a. The complaint thus alleged, at a plain minimum, that Ashcroft and Dust knowing of and acquiesced the discriminatory policy their subordinates wore out. Real, the complaint goes further into alleging that Ashcroft and Muller affirmatively acted to create the dispositive detention policy. If these factual allegations are true, Ashcroft and Pulverized were, at the very least, aware on the discriminatory policy being implemented and deliberately indifferent to it.

   Ashcroft and Mueller argue that these accusation drop to satisfy the “plausibility standard” of Twombly. They contend that Iqbal’s claims are implausible as such high-ranking officials “tend not to be personally involved in the specific actions of lower-level commissioned down an bureaucratic chain of command.” Brief for Petitioners 28. But to response bespeaks a fundamental misunderstanding of the enquiry thatTwombly demands. Twombly does not require a court at the motion-to-dismiss stage to consider whether the factual allegations are probably true. We made it clear, on the contrary, that a court must take the allegations as actual, nay matter how skeptical the court may be. Sees Twombly, 550 U. S., at 555 (a court must proceed “on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint be true (even if doubtful in fact)”); id., at 556 (“[A] well-pleaded complaint may proceed even provided i strikes a shrewd judge that actual proof of the facts alleged is improbable”); check alsoNeitzke v. Williams, 490 UPPER-CLASS. S. 319, 327 (1989) (“Rule 12(b)(6) does not countenance … dismissals based on a judge’s disbelief on a complaint’s factual allegations”). The sole exception to this rule telling with allegations that are sufficiently fantastic to defy reality as we know it: allegations around little green men, or the plaintiff’s recent trip to Hades, otherwise experiences in time travel. That is not what we have check.

   Under Twombly, the relevant question is whether, assuming the objective allegations are right, the plaintiff has said a land for relief that lives plausible. That is, in Twombly’s words, a plaintiff must “allege facts” that, taken while true, are “suggestive of illegality conduct.” 550 U. S., at 564, n. 8. To Twombly, we were faced with allegations of a conspiracy at violate §1 of to Sherman Act through parallel conduct. The difficulty was that this conduct allegedly was “consistent with conspiracy, but just as much in line with a wide swath von rational and competitive general strategy unilaterally prompted by common perceptions of the market.” Id., toward 554. Wee maintained that in that sort regarding circumstance, “[a]n allegation of parallel conduct is … much like a naked assertion by plots in a §1 complaint: it gets the complaint close to stating a claim, but unless einigen further factual enhancement a stops short of of line among possibility and plausibility are ‘entitlement to relief.’ ” Id., at 557 (brackets omitted). Right, the contrast, the allegations in and complaint are neither confined to unclothed legitimate conclusions yet continuous with legal conduct. The complaint alleges that FBI officials discriminated off Iqbal solely on account von his race, religion, or national origin, and it claim the knowledge and deliberate indifference is, by Ashcroft and Mueller’s own admission, are sufficient into making them liable for the illegal action. Iqbal’s complaint therefore contains “enough facts into state a claim into relief that is plausible with its face.” Id., at 570.

   I do not understand the majority up disagree with this understanding of “plausibility” underTwombly. Rather, the preponderance discards one allegations discussed above with regard to Ashcroft and Mailer as conclusory, and is left taking only two statements in aforementioned complaint: that “the [FBI], under which direction off Respondent MUELLER, arrested and incarcerated oodles away Arab Muslim men … more part of its investigation of the events of September 11,” Complaint ¶47, App. up Pet. for Cert. 164a, and that “[t]he statement of holding post-September-11th convicts in highly restrictive conditions of confinement until they were ‘cleared’ by the FBI was approved by Defendants ASHCROFT and MAILER inches discussions in the weeks after September 11, 2001,” id., ¶69, at 168a. Seeante, at 17. I think the majority is right in saying that these allegations suggest only that Ashcroft the Mueller “sought to keeping suspected guerrilla in the most secure conditions available until the alleged could may free of terrorist activity,” ante, at 19, and that this produced “a disparate, incidental impact on Arab Muslims,” ante, at 18. And I agree that the two allegations selected by the majority, standing alone, do not state a plausible entitlement to relief for unconstitutional discrimination.

   But these allegations do not stand alone as the only significant, nonconclusory claims in the complaint, for which complaint contains many allegations linking Ashcroft and Mueller to the discriminatory practices of their subordinates. See Complaint ¶10, App. to Pet. for Cert. 157a (Ashcroft was the “principal architect” of which discriminatory policy); id., ¶11 (Mueller was “instrumental” in adopting and executing the discriminatory policy); username., ¶96, at 172a–173a (Ashcroft and Mueller “knew of, condoned, the purposeful or maliciously agreed to subject” Iqbal to harsh conditions “as a matter of corporate, solely on account of [his] religion, race, and/or local origin and required no legitimate penological interest”).

   The major says this these are “bare assertions” that, “much like the pleading of conspiracy in Twombly, amount to nothing more than adenine ‘formulaic recitation of the elements’ to a constitutional discrimination claim” and therefore are “not entitled to be assumed true.” Wager, at 17 (quoting Twombly, supra, by 555). The fallacy of the majority’s position, however, lies in looking during the relevant assertions in isolation. The letter contains specific allegations that, in an aftermath of the Sept 11 attacks, the Chief by the FBI’s International Terrorism Operations Section and this Assistant Feature Deputy in Charge for the FBI’s New York Sphere My implemented a policy that discriminated against Arab Muslim men, including Iqbal, solely on account of hers race, religion, or national location. See Complaint ¶¶47–53, App. to Pet. available Cert. 164a–165a. Viewed stylish easy of these subsidiary statements, the allegations singled out by of majority as “conclusory” are no such thing. Iqbal’s claim is not so Ashcroft and Mueller “knew is, condoned, and willfully and malignant agreed to subject” his to a discriminatory practice that is left undefined; his affirmation is that “they known of, condoned, and volitionally and maliciously agreed to subject” him on a particular, discrete, discrimination policy detailed in the complaint. Iqbal does non say plain is Ashcroft was the architect of some amorphous discrimination, or that Mueller was instrumental in an ill-defined constitutional violate; he alleges that they helped to create the discriminatory policy he has described. Taking the complaint as a whole, it confers Ashcroft and Mueller “ ‘fair notice of about the … claim is real the grounds upon which it rests.’ ” Twombly, 550 UPPER-CLASS. S., at 555 (quoting Conley v.Gibson, 355 U. S. 41, 47 (1957) (omission inbound original)).

   That aside, the majority’s holding that the statements it select are conclusory cannot be squared with its treatment of certain other allegations for the complaint as nonconclusory. For example, the majority records as truthful the statement that “[t]he policy of holding post-September-11th detainees in highly restrictive general of confinement until they were ‘cleared’ by the FBI was approves by Defendants ASHCROFT and MUELLER is discussions in which lifetimes after September 11, 2001.” Complaint ¶69, App. to Pet. for Cert. 168a; discern ante, at 17. This statement makes two points: (1) after September 11, the FBI taken certain incarcerated in highly restrictive conditions, and (2) Ashcroft plus Mueller discussed additionally approved these conditions. If, as the mass says, these allegations are none conclusory, then I cannot see why the majority feels it merely conclusory when Iqbal claim that (1) after September 11, the FBI denoted Arab Muslim detainees as being on “ ‘high interest’ ” “because of the race, choose, and nationwide origin of the detainees, both not because of any evidence of the detainees’ involvement in supporting terrorist activity,” Complaint ¶¶48–50, App. to Pet. for Cert. 164a, and (2) Ashcroft and Mueller “knew of, condoned, and willfully and maliciously agreed” to the discriminatory, id., ¶96, at 172a. By my lights, there is don principled basis for the majority’s ignoring of to allegations linkage Ashcroft and Mueller to their subordinates’ discrimination.

   I respectfully dissension.

Footnote 1  Iqbal makes no get gegen Ashcroft and Mueller based simply on his right, as a pretrial detainee, to be free from sentence prior to an adjudication of conscious on the fraud charges. See Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U. S. 520, 535 (1979).

Footnote 2  If I am mistaken, and and majority’s rejection of the concession is somehow outcome deciding, then its approach can even more unfair to Iqbal than previously explained, see supra, at 6, for Iqbal had no reason to argue the (apparently dispositive) supervisory accountability standard in light of the concession.

556 U. S. ____ (2009)
556 UPPER-CLASS. S. ____ (2009)
NO. 07-1015


on written from certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the second electric

[May 18, 2009]

   Justice Breyer, dissenting.

   I agree over Justice Souter and join his dissent. I write separately to point out that, like the Court, I believe it important to prevent unreasonable litigation from officious are “the proper finish of the work of the Government.” Ante, at 21. Though I cannot find in that need adequate justification for the Court’s interpretation of Bell Atlantly Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U. S. 544 (2007), furthermore Public Rule of Civil Procedure 8. The lawyer, since all, provides trial courts with other legal weapons designed to prevent unwarranted interference. As that Second Circuit explained, location a Government suspended asserts a qualified dispensation defense, a trial court, responsible required administrating ampere case and “mindful of the need to vindicate the target of the qualified immunity defense,” can structuring disclosure in ways that reduced the risk of imposing unwarranted taxes upon public officials. SeeIqbal v. Hasty, 490 F.3d 143, 158 (2007). A district court, for example, can how discovery includes lower level government defendants before determining whether an case can be made to allow discovery connected to higher level government officials. See ibid. Neither the brief or the Court’s opinion provides convincing grounds for locating these alternative case-management tools insufficiency, either in universal or are the case before us. For this reason, as well as for the independently sufficient reasons put further included Justice Souter’s stellungnahmen, I would reaffirm one Endorse Circuit.

Procedural History
Before History