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Flashcards in Federal judicial power Deck (15):

Federal judicial power definition

defined in art 3 using the words “cases and controversies” places limits on fed judicial power. “justiciability doctrines.”


What are the 4 justiciability doctrines?

. Standing, must be ripe, must not be moot, must not be political question



Injury + causation and redress-ability (likelihood of future harm)
1. Injury. the π must allege and prove that he / she has PERSONALLY been injured or imminently will be injured
i. for ex if suing over destruction of environmental land, one of your memebers must have walked through it

2. Causation and redressability: π must allege and prove that the ∆ caused the injury so that a favorable court decision is likely to remedy the injury.
a. Fed cts cannot issue advisory opinions. fed ct ruling must actually have an effect. π must show that favorable fed ct decision is likely to provide a remedy—so the ∆ must be cause of the harm.
b. state courts ARE allowed to issue advisory opinions
i. ex. hospital required to provide free care to indigents. poor people weren’t served, and sued to fix it. but πs couldn’t demonstrate it was the tax rule and not the economic circumstances that caused them to turn away

3. No 3rd party standing. π cannot claim of 3ps who are not before the court
a. Some exceptions, but π must meet all of the other standing reqs
i. Exception: allowed if there is a close relationship between the π and the injured 3P. π must be trusted to represent interest of 3P.
1. for ex. doctors and patients, or parents and kids
a. mother who had legal custody could have

ii. Exception: 3P standing allowed if injured 3P is unlikely to be able to assert his or her own rights. for ex. 3p cant come to court

iii. Exception: organization can sue for members (AKA associational standing) allowed if 3 reqs met
1. members would have standing
2. interests are germane to org’s purpose
3. neither the claim nor the relief requires participation of individual members.

4. No generalized grievances—π must not be suing solely as a citizen or as a taxpayer interested in having the government follow the law.
b. Exception: TP standing allowed to challenge expenditures if statutes are violating the establishment clause. VERY NARROW→ ONLY PURSUANT TO STATUTE
1. exception has been narrowed.
2. TPs CANNOT challenge grants of property to religious institutions.
3. TPs cannot challenge money from general executive revenues. Only if the money is pursuant to a statute
4. TPs cannot challenge tax credits that benefit religion.



if asking for pre-enforcement review, must evaluate hardsip + fitness of issues and the record for judicial review

Ripeness is the question of whether a federal court may grant pre-enforcement review of a statute or regulation. usual way to challenge a law is to violate it and then challenge it. sometimes people don’t want to violate it and want a declaratory judgment. but court mustmake sure there is ACTUALLY a case or controversy. anytime you see “request for declaratory judgment” → assess ripeness
1. Hardship that will be suffered without preenforcement review-> more hardship = greater likelhiness that fed ct swill hear it
2. Π must have harm or immediate threat of harm. Cannot be for ex. potential harm in 2 years into the future.
2. Fitness of issues and the record for judicial review. Does fed ct. have everything it needs to decide the question.
a. Ex. : regulation requiring all prescription drugs must have labeling. drug cos moved to sue the FDA regulation. FDA moved to dismiss for ripeness.
i. Hardship would be great—either drug cos would have to violate and risk of prosecution or would have to comply and lose money
ii. fitness—purely legal question. does the FDA hav the authority. nothing to be gained by waiting for actual prosecuton



if events after filing of lawsuit end π injury, case dismissed as moot. must have live controversy.
1. Exception: wrong capable of repetition but evading review. Sometimes injury happens over and over, but may finish before fed ct proceedings has finished. must have at least chance that will happen to that π again. can adjudicate even though over.
a. ex.: roe v. wade. by the time decided, she gave birth. not moot, even tho injury over. wrong was capable of repetition bc could get pregnant again, and it would always evade review bc time for human gestation so short.
2. Excpetion: voluntary cessation. if ∆ halts offensive conduct, but free to resume at any time, not dismissed for moot.
a. for ex. employer uses racist test, and as soon as case filed, ER stops using test. as long as test remains legal and can restart any time, not moot

3. exception for class action suits. just if named π case become moot, CA wont be dismissed so long as at least one member still has ongoing injury.


Political question doctrine

4 kinds of political question issues that the court will dismiss

1. “republican form of government clause”—the guarantee clause. US will guarantee a republic form of government to each state. cases under this form are nonjusticiable.
a. challenge something the state has done that violates republican form of government→ dismiss
i. for ex: voters brought something from the initiative process that violated republican form of government. because it was a direct democracy. dismiss case,

2. challenges to president conduct of foreign policy.

3. Challenges to the impeachment and removal process—nonjusticiable.
a. for ex. fed judge challenging impeachment process should require whole congress to vote, → nonjusticiable

4. Challenges to partisan gerrymandering—nonjusticiable political decisions


How do cases come to SCOTUS?

i. Virtually all case come to SCOTUS by writ of cert- either from State courts or US appeals court. (discretionary review) – complete discretion. 4 justices must vote to grant cert.

3. SCOTUS is REQUIRED to take appeals from 3 judge federal district courts. Only a few classes of 3 judge dist court cases left--
i. for ex. challenges to voting districting, voting rights act for ex. question will say whether 3 judge fed dist court.
ii. skips appellate court and goes straight to sCOTUS

d. SCOTUS has original and exclusive jdxn for suits bw state gov’ts.
1. for ex water rights dispute.


Can SCOTUS hear cases before there's been a final judgment

1. “final judgment rule” – no interlocutory review at SCOTUS.
2. must use all federal / state interlocutory appeals before sC can hear


SC review of state court decision, can there be an independent and adequate state law ground of decision?

iii. For SC to review state court decision, there must not be an independent and adequate state law ground of decision. If state ct decision rests on 2 grounds, if reversal of the FEDERAL law wont change the result in the case, SC cant here it.
1. for ex. cops beat up victim. One claim is excess force in violation of const,other is state law for batter. π wins 100k on either federal OR state claim, but NOT 200k. ∆ loses in state court. SC cant hear, even if SC reverses, π still wins on state law, winning identical amount of money. State law claim is adequate to support the result.
2. for ex. – factory emitting a lot, neighbors sue in state court under fed ct cause of action clean air. other is nuisance claim. trial judge says π wins under either claim, and identical compensation. SC cant hear an appeal, bc can only decide federal law questions. doesn’t change the result in the case. State law is independent.


suits against state gov'ts

i. Fed cts and state cts cant hear suits against state gov’ts
1. Principle of sovereign immunity
a. 11th amdt bars suits against states in fed ct.
b. cant be sued for injunctions, not by other agencies
c. cant bring suit against state court or federal agency
i. for ex. agency didn’t pay under statute. barred in fed ct bc 11th amdt. cant be sued even in state ct on fed law claims.


Exceptions to sovereign immunity, 4 situations.

states MAY be sued in 4 situations
a. Waiver—state waives sovereign immunity. must be explicit.
b. States may be sued pursuant t fed statutes under § 5o f 14th amendment. §5—authorizes congress to adopt laws to require enforcement of 14th.
i. Rationale: bc 14th came after 11,it modifies it. 14th limits state powers. if theres a law under this that explicitly authorizes suits, then case can go forward.
ii. for ex title 7 (prohibition on racist hiring). CAN sue bc adopted under §5.
iii. Wont work for any other congressional powers like spending or commerce.
iv. For ex. ADA was under commerce so cant be used to sue state govts
c. fed gov’t may sue state governments—
d. Bankruptcy proceedings—state cant assert sovereign immunity.
i. for ex person wants debts of state to be discharged. state cannot claim sovereign immunity to avoid bankruptcy


Suits against state officers

3. Suits against state officers are ok
a. even if govt can be sued.
b. can be sued for injunctive relief
c. may be sued for money damages to be paid out of their own pockets if personally liable. even I fstate choose to indemnify
d. cannot be sued if state treasury will be paying retroactive damages.


Intersovereign litigation

a. US may sue a state without its consent
b. State may not sue the US without its consent
c. specific relief against an officer if he acted ultra vires (beyond authority)
d. States may sue each other without latter’s consent.



— applies when fed cts has Jdxn but must abstain.


Can fed cts enjoin pending state court proceedings

Fed courts may not enjoin pending state court proceedings.

a. for ex. CA has law prohibiting BARBRI books bc too boring. im prosecuted in state court for using the books
i. cannot file for injunction in fed dist court for declaratory judgment to stop proceedings in state court.
iii. must raise const claim as a defense in state court, and thenn can maybe appeal. but fed ct cannot enjoin.
2. Exception: unless there’s proven harassment or prosecution taken in bad faith. In a criminal case.
3. Fed court will temporarily abstain from resolving a constitutional claim when the disposition rests on an unsettled question of state law.