NAAMJP v. Holder Motion to Dismiss Analysis

This writing assignment is from my Intro to Judicial Clerkships class. The prompt was to summarize the facts and legal arguments of the complaints in 2 pages as if I were a clerk for a judge.

The case was 14-cv-02110-RJC, NAAMJP v Eric Holder. The Motion to Dismiss can be found here.


            Defendants in 14-cv-02110-RJC, NAAMJP v. Eric Holder, et al., have filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(3) and (6).

            Defendants’ first argument to dismiss is that the Plaintiffs lack standing. Defendants allege that Plaintiffs have not suffered injury because they do not have any clients in Maryland that they cannot serve and that Local Rule 701 is merely a licensing inconvenience. Defendants assert that the Plaintiffs’ claim of injury does not amount to Constitutional injury.

            Defendants’ second argument to dismiss is that the Plaintiff’s Rules and Enabling Act claim is meritless. Defendants assert that the Substantive Rights clause does not apply to local rules, and even if it did, would not include a right to practice before this court. Plaintiff’s theory is that 28 U.S.C. § 2071 and 28 U.S.C. § 2072 state that local rules issued by any federal court “shall not abridge, enlarge or modify any substantive right.” However, the Defendants highlight that the law says that only rules issued by the United States Supreme Court “shall not abridge, enlarge or modify any substantive right”; it does not mention other federal courts.

            Defendant’s third argument to dismiss is that Plaintiff’s Supremacy Clause claim is frivolous because no state law is at issue. The Supremacy Clause provides that “the Laws of the United States … shall be the supreme Law of the Land …, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” U.S. Const., Art. VI, cl. 2. Defendants highlight that Plaintiffs do not identify a state law at issue; the only thing at issue is Local Rule 701, a creature of federal law.

            Defendants’ fourth argument to dismiss is that there are not any First Amendment violations. Defendants cite numerous case law from across the country highlighting that the First Amendment does not create or protect a right to practice law, much less a right to practice before any particular court or without reasonable restrictions on the practice imposed by the courts. Defendants argue that Local Rule 701 is not a prior restraint viewpoint discrimination because the rule is content-neutral. Defendants further argue that Plaintiffs’ claims based on the right to free association and the right to petition fail to establish a plausible claim as outlined in Twombly and Iqbal.

            Defendants’ fourth argument to dismiss is that there is no Equal Protection Clause violation as claimed by Plaintiffs because the Privileges and Immunities Clause does not apply. Defendants assert that the Principal Office requirement of Rule 701 is not based on the attorney’s residency. Because there is no residency discrimination, Defendants argue that Plaintiffs’ Equal protection Clause violation claim should be dismissed.

            Defendants’ fifth argument to dismiss is that there is no Due Process violation because the presiding judge is not a named defendant and was never eligible to vote on the Court’s issuance of its Local Rules. Judge Conrad has been appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina and he sits here by designation. As such, Defendants argue that Plaintiffs’ Due Process violation claim should be dismissed.

            Defendants’ sixth, and final, argument to dismiss is that claims against the Attorney General are frivolous. Defendants assert that the Attorney General has no role in the Court’s Local Rules. As such, Defendants allege that Plaintiffs have failed to provide a sufficient factual basis to establish the plausibility of their claims against the Attorney General and should therefore be dismissed.

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