Federal Courts Outline
I. Brief history of the federal judicial system
A. Judiciary Act of 1789
1. Created diversity jurisdiction
2. Provided for amount in controversy, removal
3. Origin of Rules of Decision Act
B. It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. Marbury v. Madison.
1. Court held that plaintiff was entitled to his commission and that the law provided a remedy; however, mandamus could not issue from Supreme Court.
2. Act of 1789 violated Constitution when it purported to give Art. III judges original jurisdiction over mandamus.
3. Three possible specifications of the holding of the case.
a. Court may refuse to give effect to an act of Congress where the act pertains to the judicial power itself.
b. Court may refuse to give effect to an act of Congress, where, in the Court’s own view, the act is repugnant to the Constitution.
c. Responsibility of the courts to provide authoritative interpretations of the Constitution and to ensure enforcement of constitutional values.
a. Requirement of standing did not appear until the mid-1900s, along with the rise of the administrative state.
b. Two components to Standing
i. Constitutional requirements (Congress cannot abrogate)
ii. Prudential requirements (Congress can abrogate, presumably)
aa. No generalized grievances
bb. No third-party standing
cc. Within zone of interest
c. Why we have standing
i. Need concrete facts on which to make a decision
ii. Adversarialness leads to best argument
2. An injury must be judicially cognizable and fairly traceable to the conduct plaintiff’s challenge as unlawful. Allen v. Wright.
a. Plaintiffs did not have standing to sue IRS for failure to deny tax-exempt status to racially discriminatory private schools.
i. Mere fact that government gave aid to discriminatory schools not a cognizable injury. Two ways to view it:
aa. Right to have the government act in accordance with the law. Although government’s violation of law may be an injury, it’s a generalized grievance.
bb. Stigmatic injury. But plaintiffs must be personally denied access.
ii. Inability of children to attend integrated schools was a cognizable injury, but no way of knowing whether denial of tax exempt status would redress injury.
b. Additional rationale: threat to Separation of Powers; courts should not oversee awarding of exemptions by administrative agencies.
c. Dissenters a
Study Group, Inc.
i. Plaintiffs who claimed to be injured by defendant’s pollution had a redressable injury and therefore standing because if their constitutional challenge to a liability-limiting statute succeeded, power plant would have to close.
ii. Dissenters identify a number of problems:
aa. Decoupling of injury from constitutional claim leads to advisory opinion regarding constitutionality of liability-limiting statute.
bb. Plaintiffs asserting rights of people not yet injured.
cc. Case not yet ripe.
4. Notes on taxpayer standing
a. No citizen standing.
b. Normally, no taxpayer standing, either. See, e.g., Frothingham v. Mellon (holding that woman could not challenge Maternity Act simply because she paid taxes).
c. However, rule in Frothingham appears to be prudential and taxpayers may have standing in certain cases. See Flast v. Cohen (holding that plaintiffs had standing to challenge disbursement of federal funds to religious schools)
i. Two conditions must be met for Tax Payer Standing: