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Flashcards in Justiciability Deck (14):

Case or Controversy

There must be an actual dispute to litigate in federal court; courts will not issue advisory opinions.


Adequate and Independent State Grounds

A Fed. ct. will refuse jurisdiction if it finds adequate and independent non-federal grounds to support the state decision, even if there is a federal question involved.


Political Questions

Political Questions are those: 1. Issues committed by the Constitution to another branch of govt; or 2. those inherently incapable of resolution and enforcement by the judicial process.

Federal Courts will not decide political questions.



Unsettled State Law: When a federal const. claim is premised on an unsettled question of state law, the fed. ct should stay its hand, so as to give state courts a chance to settle the underlying state law question.

Pending State Proceedings: Generally, fed cts will not enjoin pending state criminal proceedings. However, a fed ct. will issue an order enjoining state proceedings in cases of proven harassment or prosecutions taken in bad faith.



A federal Court will not hear a case unless the P has been harmed or there is an immediate threat of harm. Thus, a P cannot challenge a law until it is enforce. No declaratory judgments.



A federal ct will not hear a case that has become moot. A real, live controversy must exist at all stages of the litigation.

Exceptions: A court will hear a case that has become moot when, 1. the controversy is capable of repetition but will evade review; or 2. is a class action and the claims of other members of the class are viable even though the representative's claim is moot.



A ct won't hear a challenge to the constitutionality of a govt action unless the party has standing. A person has standing only if she can demonstrate a concrete stake in the outcome of the controversy. There must be a case or controversy.

Requires P: 1. suffered an injury in fact, 2. which was caused by the govt, and 3. that the injury is redressable in fed ct.


Third Party Standing

Generally a person can't assert standing because of an injury sustained by another. However, a P may assert third party rights where he himself has suffered an injury and: 1. the third party finds it difficult to assert its own rights; or 2. the injury suffered by the P adversely affects his relationship with third parties, resulting in an indirect violation of their rights.


Organizational Standing

An organization has standing to challenge govt action that causes injury to the organization itself. An organization also has standing to challenge government actions that cause an injury in fact to its members if:
1. The members of the organization have suffered an injury in fact;
2. The injury is related to the organization's purpose; and
3. Neither the claim nor the relief requested requires the individual members to participate in the lawsuit.


Taxpayer Standing

People generally don't have standing as taxpayers to challenge the way tax dollars are spent by the government, except a federal taxpayer does have standing to challenge federal expenditures under the Taxing and Spending Power that violate the Establishment clause.


Eleventh Amendment

The 11th Amendment will prohibit a federal ct from hearing a claim for damages against a state government (not officers) unless:
1. The state has consented to allow the lawsuit in federal court; or
2. The P is the US or another state; or
3. Congress has clearly granted fed cts the authority to hear a specific type of damage under the 14th Amendment.


Eleventh Amendment-What is barred?

1. Actions against state govts for damages;
2. Actions against state govts for injunctive or declaratory relief where the state is named as a party;
3. Actions against state govt officers for retroactive money damages;
4. Actions against state govt officers for violating state law.
5. Actions against state in state court even on federal claims without state's consent.


Eleventh Amendment-What is not barred?

Actions against local govts
Actions by fed govt or other state govts


Exceptions to Eleventh Amendment

1. State Consent: A state may consent to waive state immunity so long as the consent is clear and unequivocal.
2. Congressional Removal of Immunity Under the 14th Amendment: Congress may abrogate 11th amendment immunity under the 14th amendment.
3. Certain Actions Against State Officers: the following actions may be brought against state officials in fed ct, despite the 11th: a. Injunctions against state officers, b. actions against state officers for monetary damages from officer, or c. Actions against state officers for prospective payments from state.