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

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 has suffered an injury
                  b. The injury must be actual or imminent; not conjectural or hypothetical
                  c. Procedural injuries do not exist (i.e. the government violating a procedure)
      2. Causation
a. Determine if the defendant caused the injury
b. The injury has to be fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant and not the result of the independent action of a 3rd party not b/f the court
            3. Redressability
a. Asks whether or not the court can provide a remedy
c. Examples of constitutional standing requirements 
1. Allen v. Wright (1984) – Parents of black students attending public schools did not have standing because the injury was not direct (the fact that discrimination was aided in the IRS’s standards for determining whether a school was discriminating wasn’t strong enough). Also, the injury was not fairly traceable and redressability was unlikely (getting rid of tax exempt statute might not stop discrimination). This case demonstrates that standing will not usually be found where a litigant claims that tax incentives have caused a third party to injure him, since the causation component will be too attenuated.
2. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife (1992) – Plaintiffs claimed a right to sue the secretary of the interior. The court ruled that the plaintiffs did not standing, and the injury can’t just be a special interest. There was no direct injury here and the citizen suit provision 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).
                                    e. The causation and redressability requirements 
1. Linda R. S. v. Richard D. (1973) – No standing for mother who wanted illegitimate father prosecuted for failure to pay child support. The court ruled that it wasn’t certain that the prosecution wouldn’t cause him to pay the support; thus, it’s not redressable.
2. Warth v. Seldin (1975) – No standing for people wishing for exclusion of zoning rules since they wouldn’t be able to live in the area at issue anyway. Also, redressability wouldn’t occur because it’s too specific of a claim.
3. Simon v. Eastern Kentucky Welfare Rights Organization (1976) – Plaintiffs that weren’t allowed medical service by tax exempt hospitals challenged the revision of the revenue ruling. The court ruled that they did not have standing because the ruling wasn’t responsible for the denial of care. There was no causation.
4. Duke Power Co. v. Carolina Environmental Study Group, Inc. (1978) – Court determined that the plaintiffs had standing to challenge Congress’ Price-Anderson Act that limited the liability of utility company to encourage nuclear reactor building. The court determined that but for the nuclear reactors, the cause of action would not be

s institution through a conveyance from the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act. The land just so happened to go to the religious group. Also, this wasn’t taxing or spending because the executive branch made this decision, not Congress.
3. Ripeness
a.Ripeness requires the court to decide only the issues which involve a real dispute, an actual injury, and not merely potential or speculative harm.
b. The purpose of ripeness is to separate matters that are premature for review because the injury is speculative and never may occur.
c. To determine ripeness, look to the following: (1) the incurred hardship, and (2) the fitness of issues for judicial decision (Is it a factual or legal issue? Is it a facial challenge or “as applied” to plaintiff?).
d. Examples of Ripeness
1. Poe v. Ullman (1961) – The Court ruled there was no standing for husband and wife to challenge Connecticut’s statute prohibiting use of contraceptives. The Court said that the statute hadn’t been enforced and that the danger of injury was too speculative. 
2. Abbot Laboratories v. Gardner (1967) – The Court determined the criteria for ripeness. The Court articulate that a case is considered “ripe” for federal court when (1) the issues presented are appropriate for judicial decision, and (2) the parties would face hardship if the Court declined to hear the case. The issue was ripe here because it’s a legal issue and the impact of the regulations challenged would be direct and immediate. 
3. United Public Workers v. Mitchell (1947) – The Court ruled the controversy was not ripe. The issue was the hypothetical threat of hatch act that didn’t allow federal employees to take part in political management of campaigns.
4. International Longshoremen’s Union v. Boyd (1954) – The court determined there was no ripe claim for a declaratory judgment. The issue involved resident aliens working in Alaska wanting to know if they had a right to come back to the U.S. after they completed their jobs.
5. Regional Rail Reorganization Act Cases (1974) – The case was a ripe challenge to a property conveyance to Conrail because the people’s property would inevitably be conveyed. Thus, the delay wasn’t relevant.
6. Lake Carriers v. Macmullan (1972) – This involved a ripe challenge to a state law that banned discharge of sewage from boats. The law was ripe because the law would be enforced and boat owners would have to install new facilities.