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Federal Courts
University of Oklahoma College of Law
Gensler, Steven S.

·         Article 3
o   Section 1 – establishes supreme court and allows congress to create inferior courts (inferior courts first created in 1789) – establishes life tenure and salery protection (not raises)
o   Section 2 – Jurisdiction: constitution, fed courts, ambassadors, ministers and counsuls, admiralty and maritime, US is a party, 2 or more states, state and citizen of another state, citizens of same state about prop of another state, state and another state, citizens of different states
·         Judicability – (must meet all to be heard by an article III judge)
o   Standing (right Person),
o   Ripeness (too early),
o   Mootness (too late),
o   No advisory opinions (must be a live case or controversy),
o   Political question doctrine (cannot hear if textually committed to another branch of fed gov’t or no legal standards that can possibly applied)
·         Can come up with as many injuries as you would like.
o   Must have an injury that qualifies for all elements
NO ADVISORY OPINIONS – means that it must be a live case or controversy.
No abstract or hypothetical questions
The Federal Declaratory Judgment Act validly confers jurisdiction on federal courts to issue declaratory judgments in appropriate cases in which a controversy would admit of specific relief through a decree of conclusive character, as distinguished from an opinion advising what the law would be upon a hypothetical state of facts
NO POLITICAL QUESTION DOCTRINE – disallows issues where the resolution is textually committed to another branch
e.g. impeachment- Senate gets to decide how to try case
also deals with political redistricting- when it does not come from statutory authority such as Constitution or Voting Rights Act, there is no legal standard for a judge to apply.
Dismissal for nonjusticiability under the political-question doctrine is proper only if there is:
(1) a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department; (2) a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it; (3) the impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for nonjudicial discretion; (4) the impossibility of a court’s undertaking independent resolution without expressing lack of the respect due coordinate branches of government; (5) an unusual need for unquestioning adherence to a political decision already made; or (6) the potentiality of embarrassment from multifarious pronouncements by various departments on one question
Two tests that Gensler cares about:
Textually committed to another branch- e.g. question of what it means to have a trial in the senate
If there is no law to apply- e.g. redistricting- when challenge is not EP or voting rights, there is no law to apply.
·         STANDING
§ Only one Plaintiff must have standing
§ There is no single standing case you can rely on to explain standing individually
§ Always look at Constitutional standing first then Prudential
§ For final discuss all aspects of standing (injury usually the most important)
o   Constitutional Standing (minimal requirement to come before Article 3 judge) (cannot be altered by congress)
§ Injury in fact
·         Concrete and particularized
·         Actual and immediate
·         Recognized injury
must be an invasion of a legally protected interest
§ Tractability
·         Defenders footnote 6 – relax tractability; need meaningful regulations in gov’t laws
·         Denied right to compete on level playing field
must be an invasion of a legally protected interest

vision of law upon which P relies
o   Constitution is often zone
·         Do not consider overall purpose of act
·         Does not only apply to “Good Guys”
·         Congress can change/define zone of interest who (when congress talks about who may bring a suit)
·         Usually administrative procedures act claim
o   Orgaizational standing – may stand in shoes of one of your members and act as there representative and recognize organization as plaintiff
§ Requirements:
·         The association member must have standing
·         The interest the association seeks to protect are “germane” to its purpose; and
·         The nature of the claim and the relief sought are such that the presence of individual members is not required
o   Statutory standing – cannot have statute allowing any person to have standing, the constitution says you still must prove constitutional standing (injury, traceability, & redressability)
§ Congress can increase standing by adding new rights and therefore creating new injuries if those rights are violated
o   Procedural rights/injuries
§ Government not following internal procedures
·         If all you are complaining about is gov’t not following law does not equal standing
§ Government denying you a personal participation right
·         Look to the plaintiff and ask how did governments actions hurt P
o   Citizen suit provisions can override Prudential standings but not Constitutional standing