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Constitutional Law II
Valparaiso University School of Law
Bodensteiner, Ivan E,

I. The Separation of Federal Powers: Limits on the Federal Judicial Power
A. Justiciability Limits: The two types of justicibility limits are (1) constitutional (cases and controversies based on Article III), and (2) prudential (prudent judicial administration). 
The following five justiciability doctrines determine which matters the federal courts can hear and decide:
1. Prohibition of Advisory Opinions
a. Advisory opinions are opinions that give advice about particular legislative or executive action when no party before the court has suffered specific injury. Federal courts are prevented from issuing opinions on abstract or hypothetical questions.
b. Cases that are to be tried in federal court must meet the following requirements: 
1. There must be actual dispute between adverse litigants
2. There must be a substantial likelihood that the court’s decision will bring about some change or have some effect.
c. The following are reasons why advisory opinions are prohibited: (1) advisory opinions can blur the lines between the court and legislature, and (2) the judicial role is limited to actual disputes, not giving advice to Congress or the President.
d. An example of the Supreme Court denying an advisory opinion is the following: Thomas Jefferson, as Secretary of State, can’t write to the Supreme Court and ask for informal advice on a treaty with France.
e. Plaut v. Spendthrift Farm, Inc. (1995) – Congress passed legislation allowing cases on which the federal courts had rendered final decisions to be re-opened in some situations. The Supreme Court held the legislation was unconstitutional because congress can’t undue the finality of the judiciary since the previous decisions regarding this law were already made. Thus, the legislation passed by Congress would make the first decisions advisory opinions.
f. Declaratory judgments are when the court is requested to state what the legal effect would be of proposed conduct by one or both parties. Declaratory judgments must be concrete questions or controversies; thus, they are justiciable. 
2. Standing
a. Standing is the determination of whether a specific person is the proper party to bring a matter to the court for adjudication. There are two types of standing: (1) constitutional, and (2) prudential.
b. The following three elements are constitutional requirements for standing:
1. Injury
                  a. Plaintiff must allege that he

ion didn’t allow the suit because general claims and general results are not allowed. Also, there was no imminent injury; thus, redressability would not be available.
d. The injury requirement
1. City of Los Angeles v. Lyons (1983) – Plaintiff challenged the use of choke hold but did not have standing because he did not successfully show a real and immediate threat that he’d be stopped and given an illegal choke hold again (wanted damages and an injunction to stop the practice of the choke hold).
2. United States v. Hays (1995) – A challenge of districting as racially discriminating didn’t have standing because the plaintiff did not live within the district. Thus, the challenge was just a generalized grievance, and not a direct injury.
3. Federal Election Commission v. Akins (1998) – The Court ruled that Congress could create a right to information, and that denial of that right was an injury sufficient for standing (injury was the inability to obtain information).