California Western School of Law

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    Removing the Blindfold and Tipping the Scales: The Unintended Lesson of Ashcroft v. Iqbal is that Frivolous Lawsuits may be Important to Our Nation

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    This Article questions whether the gain of curbing perceived frivolous litigation is worth the cost of undermining the core civic value of neutrality of justice. In Ashcroft v. Iqbal, the Supreme Court weighed in on the public debate about frivolous litigation. The lqbal opinion is essentially a memorandum by the Supreme Court written to the trial judges of America, encouraging these judges to aggressively, indeed very aggressively, identify and dismiss potentially frivolous civil complaints. That leeway-wrapped mandate comes at a cost. A cornerstone of our civic philosophy is that the judicial branch, as a general proposition, is a neutral and impartial arbiter of disputes, without regard to the identity or relative power of the litigants. It is this very concept that underlies the image of Lady Justice wearing a blindfold and holding a balanced scale. Experience tells us that Iqbal dismissals will not be content neutral. There is strong reason to believe that awareness of this lack of neutrality will percolate broadly into the public consciousness, and thus change the public belief in blind justice

    Taming the Beast of Health Care Costs: Why Medicare Reform Alone is Not Enough

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    The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act\u27 ( ACA ) has, as its primary goal, universal access to health insurance for all American citizens and legal residents. When fully implemented, the ACA will provide insurance to an additional 32 million people who are currently uninsured and to many millions of others who are underinsured. While universal health insurance is certainly a public health goal that this country has sought for many decades, the additional lives that will be added to the insurance rolls as well as new minimum coverage requirements mandated by the ACA will create fiscal burdens for the already expensive U.S. healthcare system. In 2009, Americans spent $2.5 trillion or 17.6 percent of gross domestic product ( GDP ) on health care, a number that is predicted to continue to rise absent serious interventions. The ever-escalating costs of health care as well as the anticipated costs of healthcare reform for the additional 32 million Americans who will be required to have health insurance by 2014 may well prove to be a crucial tipping point for an already fiscally overblown healthcare system

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