Constitutional Law 1: The Federal Judicial Power
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What is the federal judicial power? What are its restrictions?
It is the authority of the federal courts under the Article 3 of the Constitution.
It requires that the cases and constroversies that it hears be JUSTICIABLE.
What are the FOUR components of JUSTICIABILITY?
4. The political question doctrine
What is STANDING?
the issue of whether the plaintiff is the proper party to bring the matter to court
What are the FOUR requirements of standing?
2. Causation and redressability
3. No third party standing
4. No generalized grievances
What type of an INJURY satisfies the standing requirement?
Plaintiff must allege and prove that she HAS BEEN INJURED or IMMINENTLY WILL BE INJURED.
A "mere ideological obejction" does not suffice.
Injuries must be PERSONALLY suffered.
Plaintiffs seeking INJUCNTIVE or DECLARATIVE relief must show a likelihood of future harm.
What is the CAUSATION and REDRESSABILITY requirement?
It is a necessary component of showing STANDING - plaintiff must allege and prove that a favorable court decision is likely to REMEDY the harm.
Does a plaintiff asserting claims of others who are not before the court have STANDING?
Generally, no. However, there are three EXCEPTIONS:
1. There is a CLOSE RELATOINSHIP between the plaintiff and the injured third party (plaintiff can be trusted to ADEQUATELY REPRESENT the interests of the third party) (e.g., doctor-patient).
2. Injured third party is unlikely to be able to assert his or her own rights (prospective jurors).
3. An organization may sue for its members if: (a) the MEMBERS would have standing to sue; (b) the interests are GERMAINE to the organization's purpose; and (c) neither the claim nor relief requires participation of individual members.
Can a taxpayer sue the government solely in his capacity as a citizen or a taxpayer?
Generally, no. This violates the rule against generalized grievances.
However, there is an EXCEPTION: taxpayers have standing to challege government expenditures pursuant to federal statutes as violating the Establishment Clause (Congress cannot support religion).
What is RIPENESS?
The question of whether a federal court may grant pre-enforcement review of a statute or regulation.
What are the TWO factors thata court considers to determine ripeness?
1. The HARDSHIP that will be suffered without pre-enforcement review.
2. The FITNESS of the issues and the record for judicial review.
What is the MOOTNESS requirement?
Plaintiff must present a LIVE CONTROVERSY.
What cases are considered MOOT?
When events after filing of a lawsuit ENDS the plaintiff's injury.
However, a non-frivolous MONEY DAMAGES claim will keep the cases ALIVE.
What are the THREE exceptions to the notion that a plaintiff's claim must be a live controversy in order to survive the MOOTNESS requirement?
1. Wrong is capable of REPETITION but evades review because of its inherently LIMITED TIME DURATION (abortion cases).
2. VOLUNTARY CESSATION - defendant can stop and start back up at any time.
3. CLASS ACTION SUITS - as long as at least ONE member of the class still has an injury, it's not moot.
What is the POLITICAL QUESTION DOCTRINE?
It refers to constitutional violations that the federal courts will not adjudicate because it is political in nature.
What are FOUR kinds of cases dismissed as non-justicialbe political questions?
1. The US shall guarantee to each state a "Republican form of government." (Art. IV, Sec. 4)
2. Challenges to the President's conduct of foreign policy
3. Challenges to the impeachment and removal process
4. Challenges to partisan gerrymandering
How does a case come to be heard in the US Supreme Court?
Virtually all cases come by WRIT OF CERTIORARI.
What are the FOUR types of cases over which the Supreme Court has jurisdiction?
1. Cases from State Courts (by cert)
2. Cases from U.S. Court of Appeals (by cert)
3. Appeals for decisions of three-judge federal district courts
4. Suits between state governments (original jurisdiction)
What is the FINAL JUDGMENT RULE?
Generally, the Supreme Court may hear cases only after there has been a FINAL JUDGMENT of the highest state court, or of a US Court of Appeals, or of a three-judge federal district court.
When is the Supreme Court precluded from reviewing a state court decision?
When there is an ADQUATE AND INDEPENDENT STATE LAW GROUND of the decision.
If a state court decision rests on two grounds (one state law and one federal law), if the Supreme Court's reversal of the federal law ground will not change the result in the case, the Supreme Court CANNOT hear it.
May federal (and state) courts hear suits against states and local governments?
State governments only; not local.
What is the principle of SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY?
The Eleventh Amendment bars suits against states in federal court; thus, State governments generally cannot be named as defendants in federal court cases.
Sovereign immunity bars suits against states in state courts or federal agencies and even of federal law claims.
What are the EXCEPTIONS to the principle of sovereign immunity?
1. Waiver is permitted. State must EXPRESSLY CONSENT to being sued.
2. States may be sued pursuant to federal laws adopted under Section 5 of the 14th Amendment. (Congress cannot authorize suits against states under any other constitutional provisions or power.)
3. The FEDERAL government may sue state governments.
4. Bankruptcy proceedings (in US Bankruptcy Courts) - Eleventh Amendment does not apply to federal laws exercised pursuant to Congress's Bankruptcy Power.
Are suits aginst state officers allowed? If yes, what types of suits?
Suits against state officers are allowed even if the state government cannot be named as a defendant.
- State officers may be sued for INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
- State officers may be sued for MONEY DAMAGES to be paid out of their own pockets.
Note: State officers may not be sued if it is the state treasury that will be paying retroactive damages.
What is the rule of ABSTENTION?
Federal courts may not enjoin (stop) pending state court proceedings.
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