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Flashcards in Judicial Review Deck (11):
1

What is the source and scope of the federal judicial power?

Art. III, sec. 2 provides that the judicial power of the US shall be vested in one supreme court and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.

The scope is between law based jurisdiction:
1. cases arising under the Constitution or federal law;
2. cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction.

and party based jurisdiction:
1. controversies to which the US shall be a party;
2. controversies between two or more states;
3. cases between a state and citizens of another state;
4. cases between citizens of different states and the amount in controversy is over $75,000; and
5. cases affecting ambassadors and consuls.

2

What is and how does, the 11th amendment work with judicial power?

It prohibits the citizens of one state from suing their own state or another state on federal claims for money damages, in federal or state court, without the state's consent. This is called governmental immunity or sovereign immunity.

EXCEPTIONS:
1. Federal suits brought by one state against another state, or suits brought by the federal government against a state.
2. subdivisions of a state do not have immunity from suit under the 11th Amendment.
3. Suits for injunctions.
4. A statement may consent to suit in federal courts if it clearly waives its 11th Amendment immunity and does so expressly and unequivocally.
5. Puruant to its enforcement powers under the post-Civil War amendments, Congress can authorize private suits by individuals to compensate for state violations of those amendments.

3

What limitations are there on jurisdiction?

Art. III, sec. 2 limits jurisdictions to cases and controversies. That is, real and substantial dispute that touches the legal relations of parties having adverse interests and that can be resolved by a judicial decree of a conclusive character.

Courts will not give advisory opinions. However, this does not preclude declaratory judgments.

4

What are the requirements before a federal court will hear a case or controversy?

RAMPS

Mootness
Ripeness
Abstention/adequate and independent state grounds
Standing

5

What is mootness?

If a controversy or matter has already been resolved then the case will be dismissed as moot. An actual case or controversy must exist at all stages of litigation.

Although the principal issue has been resolved, if a party still has an interest in collateral matters, the case will not be dismissed.

The case will not be dismissed for mootness if the injury is capable of repetition, yet evading review, meaning that it is a practical impossibility for there to be adjudication or appellate review before the claims of the P, or other individual who are members of the class, become moot.

6

What is ripeness?

Whereas mootness bars consideration of claims after they have been resolved, ripeness bars consideration of claims before they have fully developed.

Generally, a court may not review or grant a declaratory judgment of a state law before it is enforced or when there is no real threat the statute will ever be enforced. However, if the P can show, before enforcement of the law, that th elaw presents a specific or present harm or a threat of specific future and imminent harm, the court may grant a declaratory judgment.

7

What is abstention?

The federal court may abstain when there are undecided issues of state law presented. The abstention doctrine permits the stae court to resolve issues of state law, thereby making a decision of the constitutional issue unnecessary.

The federal court may abstain if the meaning of a state law or regulation is unclear.

Where state criminal proceedings are pending, the federal court will abstain in a suit seeking an injunction against the state prosecution, absent a showing of bad faith harassment. This is extended to:
1. where state civil proceedings had commenced; and
2. where civil contempt hearings had begun.

8

What is adequate and independent state grounds?

Although a state court decision may involve a federal question, if the state court judgment can be supported on an adequate and independent state ground, the Supreme Court will not take jurisdiction.

Where a state court clearly states that a state law violates other state law or a provision of the state constitution, that decision will be an adequate and independent state ground.

Where a state court holds that a state law violates both the state constitution and federal constitution, the doctrine will apply.

Where a state court's decision is based upon a federal interpretation of a similar federal law, the doctrine will not apply.

9

What is standing?

A litigant must show:
1. injury in fact - The P must show a direct and personal injury, actual or imminent, caused by the action that he is challenging.

2. causation - The injury must be caused by the challenged action.

3. redressibility - The P must show that he will benefit from the remedy sought in the litigation.

Third Parties:
Under the traditional view, a litigant lacks standing to assert the rights of third parties not before the court.

EXCEPTION: The Supreme Court has permitted a party to raise the constitutional rights of a third party where he himself has suffered injury and:
1. a special relationship exists between the claimant and third party because of the connection between the interests of the claimant and the constitutional rights of the third person; and
2. the third arty is unable or finds it difficult to bring suit on his own behalf.

An association has standing if:
1. the members have standing;
2. the interest asserted is germane to the association's purpose; and
3. neither the claim asserted nor the relief requested would require participation by the individual members in the lawsuit.

These people almost never have standing:
1. legislator;
2. taxpayer unless it is a law violating the Establishment Clause; and
3. lovers of the constitution;

10

What are political questions?

Federal courts cannot hear cases involving political questions. A political question is a matter assigned to another branch by the constitution or incapable of a judicial answer.

The following factors help determine if this doctrine applies:
1. whether there is a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department;
2. a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it;
3. the impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for nonjudicial discretion;
4. the impossibility of a court's undertaking independent resolution without expressing lack of respect due coordinate branches of government;
5. an unusual need for unquestioning adherence to a political decision already made; and
6. the potential for embarrassment from multifarious pronouncements by various departments in one question.

11

What is the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?

Under Art. III, sec. 2, it has original jurisdiction in all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls and those in which a state shall be a party.

Congress may not enlarge nor restrict the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction.

Where the federal constitution or a federal law provides, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction.