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federal_courts_outline_2002

federal_courts_outline_2002 - I JUSTICIABILITY I...

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I. JUSTICIABILITY I. JUSTICIABILITY These doctrines determine which matters federal courts can hear and decide. They all implicate separation of powers . Two sources for these rules: (1) Constitutional requirements: Article III, §2 says they can only decide “cases and controversies.” (2) Prudential requirements: In some instances policy mandates that court not intervene. These requirements can be overridden by Congress. Arguments for having these restrictions/requirements: (1) Court doesn’t want to intrude into areas committed to other branches of gov’t. (2) Improve judicial decision-making by providing concrete controversies . Court is only comfortable looking at concrete things, not abstract hypotheticals. (3) The doctrines conserve judicial resources, allowing courts to focus attention on matters most deserving of review. (4) Promote fairness, because they prevent courts from adjudicating rights of those not parties to a lawsuit. A. ADVISORY OPINIONS Fed Courts cannot issue advisory opinions. Criteria to avoid being an advisory opinion: 1. ACTUAL DISPUTE & ADVERSE LITIGANTS (case or controversy). Letter from Jefferson to Justice Jay (p. 24) Asking for answers to long list of questions concerning American neutrality in war between France and England. Jay said no because it would violate separation of powers. Case and Controversy Clause – concreteness vs. abstractness - Article III says we can only hear cases and controversies. This means there are two parties, one suing the other for relief. The court feels more comfortable with a law suit between parties than simply a question posed to them. Court wants to have set of facts to ponder and analyze. Wants to be able to make more informed decisions. Also there’s the notion of adversariness – in a case you know that the best arguments are being made on both sides. Muskrat v. United States (S.Ct. 1911( (p. 26) No jurisdiction, because the interests of the Native Americans and the gov’t were not adverse. There is no Defendant. Here, 1902Congressional Act creates property allotments to Cherokees, but those allotments are changed in later Act. Congress passes new law saying conflicts over titles should go to the court of claims. Problem, creates jurisdiction where there is no suit between parties concerning a property right. The US hasn’t gotten the land, so the Ps can’t sue the gov’t for the property. The circumstances in which it would be appropriate for the court to determine whether a law is constitutional are when you have 2 parties, one of which is relying on a law that may or may not conflict with the Constitution. So determining constitutionality of a law must arise when some party is using that law. Courts business is to decide between the parties, and the determination of constitutionality is a byproduct of this decision. Holding: Basically, no advisory opinions. As in common law, parties must be adverse in order for the court to decide.
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