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Constitutional Law II
Valparaiso University School of Law
Levinson, Rosalie Berger

I          Federal Judicial Power
A        Intro to Justiciability Doctrines
1         determine which matters fed courts can hear and decide and which must be dismissed
2         prohibition against advisory opinions, standing, ripeness, mootness, political question doctrine
3         Const v Prudential requirements
a         const – doctrines are result of Court’s interpretation of Art III of Const (cases and controversies req) which imposes substantial const limits on fed judicial power – Cong CANNOT override const restrictions on judicial power
b         prudential – doctrines derived from prudent judicial administration (const permits jurisdiction but wise policy militates against judicial review) – Cong CAN override prudential restrictions
c         policy – they conserve scarce judicial resources, improve decision making, promote fairness
B        Prohibition against advisory opinions
1         fed courts are not allowed to provide opinions about the const of pending legislation or on const questions referred to them by other branches of govt
a         justifications – separation of powers, conservation of jud resources, ensures specific disputes
2         criteria to avoid being advisory opinion
a         must be an actual dispute btwn adverse litigants
b         there must be a substantial likelihood that a fed court decision in favor of a claimant will bring about some change or have some effect
i           PLAUT v SPENDTHRIFT – court declared fed law unconst because it had rendered SC decisions advisory (law allowed cases to be brought after SC said they couldn’t be). Cong cant override final judgments
3         declaratory judgments are not impermissible advisory opinions – jud can issue them if meet criteria to avoid being advisory
C        Standing – who may bring suit
1         standing is the determination of whether a specific person is the proper party to bring a matter to the court for adjudication
a         it is jurisdictional so court may bring up on its own
2         Requirements for standing
a         3 const standing req
i           personally suffered injury – P must allege that he actually suffered or will imminently suffer an injury as result of challenged conduct
1         mere interest in problem is not sufficient (SIERRA CLUB – no standing to challenge ski resort constr)
2         only person residing in election dist has standing for gerrymandering challenge (HAYS)
3         in order to seek injunction, P must show likelihood of direct future harm (LYONS – couldn’t show injury by police chokeholds so no injunctive standing, but had standing for damages – bifurcated standing)
4         LUJAN – desire to use or observe animal species is cognizable interest – but P couldn’t show sufficient likelihood that would be injured because had no plans to return to area in immediate future
5         stigmatic injury or marital happiness not sufficient injury (unless person actually denied equal treatment)
ii         causation – the injury is fairly traceable to Ds conduct
1         ALLEN – parents of black students didn’t have standing to sue IRS to enforce laws denying exempt status to racially discrim schools. No causation because injury not fairly traceable to govt conduct.
2         if indirectly cause another to harm P, then likely causation issue
3         DUKE POWER – court found causation in construction of nuclear reactor that would cause injuries – but for the act, the reactor would not be built. Court then upheld the act.
iii        redressability – a favorable fed court decision is likely to redress the injury
1         EASTERN KY WELFARE RIGHTS ORG – P challenged IRS rev ruling that limited amount of free med care that hospitals rcvg tax exempt status were req to provide. No redressability because no guarantee that victory would result in receipt of medical care. Also, purely speculative on causation.
b         3 prudential standing principles (cong may override)
i           cant raise claims of 3rd party not before court – may assert only your own claims
1         exception
a.       if other standing requirement met (injury, causation, redressability)
b.       may assert violation of others’ rights to buttress claims if
i.         th

ting it – problem w/denying preenforcement review is that person left w/choice of violating it and risk prosecution, or unnecessarily obey an unconst law
b         2 issues in determining ripeness
i           the fitness of the issues for judicial decision – has law been enforced yet?
1         where inevitability that law will be enforced is patent, dsnt matter that there is time delay before enforced
2         but court wants to know facts concerning enforcement
ii         the hardship to the parties of withholding court consideration (how much will they be harmed?)
E        Mootness – when
1         P must present a live controversy at all stages of fed court litigation. If anything occurs while a lawsuit is pending to end Ps injury (death, settlement, law repealed), the case is to be dismissed as moot.
a         equitable remedy wont make moot suit for damages
b         3 exceptions to mootness
i           wrongs capable of repetition but evading review (pregnancy)
1         a case is not dismissed, even though moot, if there is an injury likely to recur in future and it is possible that is could happen to P again, and it is of such duration that it is likely to always evade review
a.       DEFUNIS – law student challenge to admissions was moot because wouldn’t happen to P again
ii         voluntary cessation
1         a case is not moot if the D voluntarily ceases, but is free to return to it at any time. Only if there is no reasonable chance that D could resume the offending behavior is a case deemed moot on this basis
a.       heavy burden of persuading court that behavior cannot be reasonably started up again lies w/party asserting mootness (environmental cases)