Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

It’s 10:00 a.m. on New Years Eve . . . And 32 Congressmen Are Already Having Trouble Standing

No, I’m not talking about Ted Kennedy and his distinguished colleagues after a few too many Chivas-on-the-rocks. The Associated Press reports that a judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a lawsuit filed by 32 congressmen challenging Bush’s withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty because the legislators lacked standing. For those unfamiliar with the law, courts are only permitted by the Constitution to decide actual cases or controversies, and therefore the courts require those bringing suit to have "standing"--that is, plaintiffs must be able to demonstrate actual or imminent injury which is traceable to the complained of matter and which is redressable by the court. The district court’s decision that the congressmen lack standing is clearly the correct opinion in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision finding that members of Congress lacked standing to challenge the line-item veto bill. (NB: the line item veto was subsequently struck down by the Supreme Court when interested parties who suffered actual injury as the result of spending lines being vetoed brought suit.) The judge declared that "[p]ermitting individual congressmen to run to federal court any time they are on the losing end of some vote or issue would circumvent and undermine the legislative process." Thanks as always to Howard Bashman’s How Appealing Blog for providing a link to the decision, which you can see here.

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