OCTOBER TERM, 2008
NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is
being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.
The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been
prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader.
See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321, 337.
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
ASHCROFT, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL, ET AL. v.
IQBAL ET AL.
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF 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 arrested on criminal charges and detained
by federal officials under restrictive conditions. Iqbal filed a Bivens
action against numerous federal officials, including petitioner
Ashcroft, the former Attorney General, and petitioner Mueller, the
Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). See Bivens v.
Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U. S. 388. The complaint al-
leged, inter alia, that petitioners designated Iqbal a person “of high
interest” on account of his race, religion, or national origin, in contra-
vention of the 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 investigation; that petitioners
knew of, condoned, and willfully and maliciously agreed to subject
Iqbal to harsh conditions of confinement as a matter of policy, solely
on account of the prohibited factors and for no legitimate penological
interest; and that Ashcroft was the policy’s “principal architect” and
Mueller was “instrumental” in its adoption and execution. After the
District Court denied petitioners’ motion to dismiss on qualified-
immunity grounds, they invoked the collateral order doctrine to file
an interlocutory appeal in the Second Circuit. Affirming, that court