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Federal Jurisdiction
University of Mississippi School of Law
Cochran, George C.

Federal Jurisdiction

Prof. Cochran Fall 2007

Chapter IV – Justiciability

Political Questions – federal courts will not hear something that is not justiciable.
A. Luther v. Borden – “republican form of government.” Who controls Rhode Island?
a. Held: Art. IV, § IV does not confer rights. Case is a political question.
B. Massachusetts v. Laird – no declaration of war in Vietnam.
a. Held: political question
C. Largess v. Supreme Judicial Court – suit to enjoin MA Supreme Court’s enforcement of its decision re: gay marriage – argument is it’s a legislative function, not a judicial one.
a. Held: separation of powers principles in MA C did not result in a violation of federal constitutional guarantee of a “republican form of government.” Political question.
D. TEST – Baker v. Carr
a. Is there a textually demonstrable delegation to a co-equal branch of government?
b. Are there judicially manageable standards?
i. In Baker, it was “one man, one vote”
c. Are there problems in enforcing a judgment?
E. Other Cases
a. In re African American Slave Descendents Litigation
i. Reparations wanted by descendents of slaves
ii. No manageable judicial standards – hard to quantify your injury
b. Giles v. Harris
i. MS adopted AL constitution – suit brought saying it violates EP
ii. SCOTUS: political question – vote for people who will change state constitution
iii. Cochran says this is wise b/c there’s no way to enforce a judgment in the South during reconstruction
c. Powell v. McCormack
i. Powell was expelled as a member of Congress. Sued for reinstatement. Before suit was decided, he was reelected. Changed suit to ask for a declaratory judgment. SCOTUS issued judgment – not a political question.
d. Main theme in these cases – SCOTUS is hesitant to undercut image of Court

v STANDING – determination of whether a specific person is proper party to bring a matter to the court for adjudication.
o NOTE: Cochran loves Horowitz v. Missouri as a reason why a person shouldn’t have standing – open the flood gates to litigants bitching about all sorts of things.

I. Requirements for standing:
A. Injury in Fact – ∏ must have suffered or imminently will suffer injury – an invasion of a legally protected interest which is concrete & particularized. Injury must be actual, imminent, distinct, & palpable, not abstract. Lujan
B. Causation – Must be a causal connection b/w injury & conduct complained of, so that injury is fairly traceable to challenged action

ity of that which was reclassified.
a. Held: No standing – allegation was too general to establish a particular injury. They needed to allege that they used specific land being mined under new federal regulations. Need direct injury.

4. Actually Attend Meetings – Doe v. Tangipahoe Parish School Bd. – prayers before school board meetings. No allegations in complaint that ∏s actually attended the school board meetings in question.
a. Held: No standing – lawyer said he forgot to put it in complaint. Dissent talks about entering a new regime where courts value form over substance.

5. Actually Participate in Activity – Japan Whaling – whalers violating international law by killing whales. Plaintiffs allege they observe whales.
a. Held: standing granted under Sierra Club and SCRAP.

B. Generalized Injury Commonly Shared Insufficient
1. Schlesinger v. Reservists Committee to Stop the War (1974) – Reservists Committee challenged the constitutionality of members of Congress holding commissions in the