Does Marbury have a right to the commission? (Yes, because it was granted to him) Do the laws of the country give Marbury a legal remedy? (Yes, legal rights were violated so there had to be legal remedy) Is asking the Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus the correct legal remedy? (No)
Established power of judicial review.
Yes. The U.S. Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction over state court decisions involving federal law.
The federal power was given directly by the people and not by the States. Article III, Section 2, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution states that “in all other cases before mentioned the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction”.
If the Supreme Court could not review decisions from the highest State courts, the state courts necessarily would be excluded from hearing cases involving questions of federal law. It had already been established that state courts have the power to rule on issues of federal law, and therefore the Supreme Court must be able to review those decisions. The Court also held that the Supremacy Clause states that the federal interpretation trumps the states’ interpretation.
Opinion referred to the state constitution, but otherwise relied exclusively on federal law (not independent and adequate state ground, so SC had jurisdiction)
• Separation of powers is respected, Courts kept out of legislative process
• Courts limited to deciding legal disputes, not to give advice to Congress
• No advisory opinions means an actual case or controversy comes to the Court
There must be a concrete dispute between adverse litigants
Has to be a substantial likelihood that a favorable decision in favor of the plaintiff would cause something to change/decision would have some effect
Injury – the plaintiff must have suffered or imminently will suffer injury.
Causation – there must be an allegation that the injury can be traced to the defendant.
Redressability – it must be likely, as opposed to merely speculative, that a favorable court decision will redress the injury
Standing will not be found when there is a generalized grievance.
Unlike the plaintiffs in Warth, Ransom has adequately averred an ‘actionable causal relationship’ between Arlington Heights’ zoning practices and his asserted injury
Plaintiff had alleged only a “public interest” and not the injury to its members.
Plaintiff alleged that its members (five law students) were caused to pay more.
In Sierra Club the plaintiff had alleged only a “public interest” and not the injury to its members.
Plaintiffs lacked standing because their injury was speculative, since they alleged only that they intended to return to the overseas sites “some day,” without specifying a definite day; plaintiffs failed to establish injury in fact or redressability
Four major exceptions to prohibition on third-party standing:
• Where the third party is unlikely to be able to sue
• If there is a close relationship between the plaintiff and the third party
Individual is connected to the activities of the third party that are constitutionally protected
Doctors have standing to raise the rights of their patients
• Overbreadth doctrine
Limited to first amendment cases
• Associations and organizations
Can sue someone based on injuries to itself or by alleging injuries to its members
The Court acknowledged that parties economically affected by regulations may challenge those regulations “by acting as advocates of the rights of third parties who seek access to their market or function.”
The majority went on to find the elements of standing to be satisfied because “EPA’s steadfast refusal to regulate greenhouse gas emmissions presents a risk of harm to Massachusetts that is both ‘actual’ and ‘imminent’
Relied on free speech and free association rights of its members
Want to remain anonymous so it was highly unlikely that a member would come forward to challenge the law, therefore, the NAACP could sue on their behalf
The members would otherwise have standing to sue in their own right
The interests that the organization is seeking to protect are germane to the organization’s purpose
Neither the claim that is being argued nor the relief that the organization is requesting would require the participation in the lawsuit of individual members
In order to have standing under Flast, a taxpayer must not only challenge a policy on the basis of the Establishment Clause, but also bring the challenge against a congressional expenditure. Since no specific congressional appropriation was implicated in the suit, the Court ruled that there was no “Case or Controversy” under the Flast exception. To extend Flast to executive actions, the Court said, would threaten the separation of powers by relaxing the doctrine of standing and turning federal courts into “general complaint bureaus.”
The controversy between parties had thus “clearly ceased to be ‘definite and concrete’ and no longer ‘touch[ed] the legal relations of parties having adverse legal interests.'”
The inability of the federal judiciary “to review moot cases derives from the requirement of Article III of the Constitution under which the exercise of judicial power depends upon the existence of a case or controversy.”
Roe v. Wade (1973) – The state argued that the case was moot because plaintiff Roe had given birth and was no longer pregnant by the time the case was heard. As Justice Blackmun wrote in the majority opinion:
• The normal 266-day human gestation period is so short that the pregnancy will come to term before the usual appellate process is complete. If that termination makes a case moot, pregnancy litigation seldom will survive much beyond the trial stage, and appellate review will be effectively denied. Our law should not be that rigid.
Three situations where they grant review:
Where an individual is faced with the choice between not engaging in alleged unlawful behavior or engaging in it and risking prosecution; where the enforcement of a statute or regulation is certain; collateral injuries (injuries that are not the primary focus of the lawsuit, but that will inevitably occur)
When the interests of a case’s litigants require the authority of the court for protection from actual, imminent interference, that case has become ripe for review.
In this case, only Poole falls into this category. Article III states that federal courts do not issue advisory opinions. Justice Reed noted that none of the appellants, except George P. Poole, had violated the provisions of the Hatch Act. When one has not yet violated a law, the violation of that law is a hypothetical threat which does not suffice. The majority of the plaintiffs seek advisory opinions which we cannot issue. Poole’s claim was rejected on the merits, not for ripeness. The rest of the plaintiffs were rejected because their claims were not ripe.
Challenged against (successfully) in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)
A plaintiff who wants to invoke the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court must allege an “actual case or controversy.” Further, the injury complained of by plaintiff must be immediate. Past exposure to illegal conduct does not, by itself, show a present case or controversy.
Lyons did not have standing to bring this case to the Supreme Court. In order to have standing, a plaintiff must show 1) an actual or likely injury in fact, 2) that the injury is sufficiently concrete and individually affects the plaintiff, 3) that the challenged action is the “cause in fact” of the injury, and 4) that the Court will be able to redress the injury by its decision.
• Republican form of government clause – article 4, section 4
• From the electoral process
• Foreign affairs
• Congress’ ability to regulate its internal processes
• Constitutional amendments and the process for ratifying them
• Situations where a federal court cannot provide effective relief
• Impeachment process
o Brennan reformulated the political question doctrine, identifying six factors to help in determining which questions were “political” in nature. Cases that are political in nature are marked by:
• “Textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department;” as an example of this, Brennan cited issues of foreign affairs and executive war powers, arguing that cases involving such matters would be “political questions”
• “A lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it;”
• “The impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for nonjudicial discretion;”
• “The impossibility of a court’s undertaking independent resolution without expressing lack of the respect due coordinate branches of government;”
• “An unusual need for unquestioning adherence to a political decision already made;”
• “The potentiality of embarrassment from multifarious pronouncements by various departments on one question.”
The Court held that “the power of determining that a state government has been lawfully established” did not belong to federal courts, and that it was not the function of such courts to prescribe the qualifications for voting in the States. The Court held that the creation of republican forms of government and the control of domestic violence were matters of an essentially political nature committed by the Constitution to the other branches of government. Hence, the Court should defer to Congress and the President when confronted with such issues.
o Did Congress have a constitutional role to play in the termination of the treaty?
o Without oral argument, the divided justices found that the case was not justiciable. Rehnquist led a group of four others who believed that the issue involved a political question, namely, how the President and Congress would conduct the nation’s foreign affairs. Justice Powell did not find the case ripe for judicial review. He reasoned that since Congress had not formally challenged Carter’s authority, technically there was no conflict for the Court to resolve. The dissenters were prepared to hear the case.
Plurality of justices said such suits pose political questions
o When a war ends and begins is a political question
• Commercial Trust Company v. Miller (1923)
Power to decide when a war ends belongs to Congress
o Recognition of foreign governments is a political question
o Diplomatic status of individuals who claim immunity
• United States v. Belmont (1937)
Confirmed the president’s power to recognize power of Soviet Union