I. Article III limits the Supreme Court to hearing cases and controversies. These limits ensure that.
II. Two types of rules:
a. Constitutional: cannot be overruled by Congress
b. Prudential Rules: are developed by the court as good policy, but can be overruled by Congress.
III. Five Major Justiciability Limits
a. Prohibition against advisory opinions
e. Political Question doctrine.
IV. Prohibition against Advisory Opinions, requires:
a. For the court to rule, there must be an actual dispute between adverse litigants
b. There must be a substantial likelihood that a federal court decision in favor of a claimant will bring about some change, or have some effect.
c. Plaut v. Spendthrift: Congress cannot retroactively apply law to decided cases, because to do so would essentially make the decisions advisory, and not binding. (Also a separation of powers concern).
d. Declaratory Judgment Act: allows a person to bring a suit without having violated a law yet—still constitutional, because person bringing the suit still has to fill all of the other requirements (standing, etc), which insure there is a controversy.
a. Asks when is an individual the proper party to bring a case before a court of law?
b. Constitutional Requirements of Standing
i. Actual Injury (not hypothetical injury)
1. Injury must be personalized (particularized, distinct)—unique to yourself
a. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife: injury must be actual or imminent—a “someday” argument is not enough. The court also re-iterated that even congress cannot create a right to sue without harm. Also no redressability—can’t show project funding hurts endangered species.
b. Akins: If a statute creates a right to information, denial of that information can be an injury
c. Lyons: No bifurcated standing—remedy sought must be appropriate to injuries suffered (chokeholds)
d. Hays: no claim for racial gerrymandering if you don’t live in an affected district
2. Having government officials “act” in accordance with the law, is not sufficient injury
ii. Causation: Plaintiff must allege that the injury is fairly traceable to defendant’s conduct (Allen v. Wright: IRS policy funding private schools was not sufficient show causation for discrimination, also no redressability)
iii. Redressability: Plaintiff must allege that a favorable federal court decision is likely to redress the injury.
1. Linda R v. Richard D: claim by mother that state failed to prosecute fa
b. US v. Richardson: No logical nexus between Richardson’s status as a taxpayer and the failure of congress to demand information.
c. Flast v. Cohen: Government helped fund books for parochial schools. Court held that:
i. This was spending
ii. Establishment clause separates church and state—thus limiting this spending.
d. Valley Forge CC v. Americans for Sep. of Church and State: Fails the first prong of the taxpayer test, because the conveyance was property.
1. To be ripe, plaintiff must show that harm is not speculative—the harm has occurred, or will occur imminently. (deals with the “when” a case can be brought).
2. Poe v. Ullman: claim not ripe if a state is not enforcing the challenged law.
1. As a general rule, if anything occurs while a lawsuit is pending to end the plaintiff’s injury, the case must be dismissed as moot.
a. Capable of Repetition, yet evading review (with one particular plaintiff). Pregnancy is the classic example.