I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Many "standing to sue" rules should be dumped

I think that a lot of the restrictions on standing to sue should be abolished. The argument that particular such restrictions are necessary to prevent the courts from being "swamped" with lawsuits does not hold water -- the time and expense of suing are sufficient deterrents against frivolous lawsuits. Often restrictions on standing are not definite deterrents because of uncertainty over whether the courts will apply restrictions or recognize exceptions to the restrictions -- for example, in my federal lawsuits against the smog impact fee, my proposed exception to general federal-court tax-suit immunity -- that California had "left the sphere that is exclusively its own" (Parden v. Terminal Railway) by basing the fee entirely on the state's special status under federal auto emissions laws and regulations -- should have been accepted by the courts. Arbitrariness and capriciousness in the restrictions on standing and in applying the restrictions on standing result in unfairness and gross iniquities. Often standing is lost because of mootness caused by lapse of time, and the courts' own delays are often responsible for this particular cause of loss of standing. The right to judicial review should be treated as a very strong right. Some restrictions on standing to sue are arguably unconstitutional because they restrict the federal courts' jurisdiction in areas where the Constitution grants jurisdiction to the federal courts. Following a rule of standing at the expense of violating the Constitution is straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. The time and resources that are lost because of disputes over standing to sue exceed the time and resources that are saved by having restrictions on standing to sue. There is not even consistency in the rules of standing to sue -- for example, despite the "injured-in-fact" rule supposedly based on the "cases and controversies" rule of Article III of the Constitution, the "citizen suit" provisions of environmental laws do not require allegations of actual or potential harm to anyone or anything. I am not saying that all restrictions on standing to sue are bad, but many are.

One thing that we need to get rid of is this "taxpayer" standing crap. Ironically, under the stupid taxpayer standing rules, there would be standing to sue over a religious symbol on public property if the symbol were privately funded but not if the symbol were government funded!

In the establishment clause lawsuit against the UC-Berkeley evolution website, the issue of taxpayer standing should not apply because the lawsuit is over the way the tax funds are used, not over the allocation of tax funds. The plaintiffs are not demanding that the National Science Foundation or the state stop funding the evolution website. The issue of whether there should be taxpayer standing because of a potential reduction in taxes or a potential refund in taxes does not apply to this lawsuit.

Judges are often afraid to make exceptions to general rules because of a fear that being overruled by a higher court, particularly a supreme court (federal or state), will damage their reputations. However, it is doubtful that a well-reasoned exception to a general rule would be overruled by a supreme court, because overruling the exception would (1) require the supreme court to overturn a precedent that was the basis of the exception and/or (2) make the rules even more complicated than they already are. For example, if the lower court judges had ruled in my favor in my lawsuit against the smog impact fee, the US Supreme Court could have reversed their decision only by repudiating the Supreme Court's own ruling that a state loses its immunity against federal lawsuits when the state "leaves the sphere that is exclusively its own" (Parden v. Terminal Railway) by trespassing into areas that are exclusively under federal jurisdiction.
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6 Comments:

Anonymous Isaac said...

> the time and expense of suing are sufficient deterrents against frivolous lawsuits. <

You can't be serious! There is no shortage of frivolous lawsuits.

> Some restrictions on standing to sue are arguably unconstitutional because they restrict the federal courts' jurisdiction in areas where the Constitution grants jurisdiction to the federal courts. <

In what way do they restrict the courts' jurisdiction? The courts can't go out in search of litigators. They must deal with the cases that come to them.

> The time and resources that are lost because of disputes over standing to sue exceed the time and resources that are saved by having restrictions on standing to sue. <

Do you have any evidence for this or is it just conjecture?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 7:43:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> the time and expense of suing are sufficient deterrents against frivolous lawsuits. <

You can't be serious! There is no shortage of frivolous lawsuits. <<<<<<

How do these rules of standing to sue affect the number of frivolous lawsuits? Those who file frivolous lawsuits do not care whether they have standing to sue or not.

>>>>>> Some restrictions on standing to sue are arguably unconstitutional because they restrict the federal courts' jurisdiction in areas where the Constitution grants jurisdiction to the federal courts. <

In what way do they restrict the courts' jurisdiction? <<<<<<

Article III of the Constitution gives the federal courts jurisdiction over certain kinds of cases, e.g., cases arising under the Constitution and the laws of the US. Restrictions on standing to sue prevent the federal courts from hearing many of these cases.

>>>>>> The time and resources that are lost because of disputes over standing to sue exceed the time and resources that are saved by having restrictions on standing to sue. <

Do you have any evidence for this or is it just conjecture? <<<<<<

Are you kidding? The lawbooks are chock full of cases where time and resources have been wasted because of the standing to sue issue! For example, there is the Marco DeFunis reverse-discrimination case, where the Supreme Court dismissed the case as moot because he was about to graduate from the law school that originally denied him admission (the law school hadn't changed its admission policies -- he was admitted by a court ruling). Then there is Hallstrom v. Tillamook County, where the Supreme Court ruled that failure to give a required 60-days notice of intent to sue in an environmental "citizen suit" was a fatal error and required that the lawsuit be refiled from scratch -- the sensible thing to do would be to just suspend the original case for 60 days and then proceed. The list goes on and on and on.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 12:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Isaac said...

lrepts> Article III of the Constitution gives the federal courts jurisdiction over certain kinds of cases, e.g., cases arising under the Constitution and the laws of the US. Restrictions on standing to sue prevent the federal courts from hearing many of these cases. <

You are missing the point. Article III of the Constitution only concerns jurisdiction. It does not guarantee the cases must, or should, be heard.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 4:03:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>> You are missing the point. Article III of the Constitution only concerns jurisdiction. It does not guarantee the cases must, or should, be heard. <<<<<<

In the original post, I said,
Following a rule of standing at the expense of violating the Constitution is straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.

Also, the Supreme Court said that if a statute was intended to bar constitutional claims, such intent would "raise serious questions concerning the constitutionality" of the statute itself. Johnson v. Robison, 415 U.S. 361, 366 (1973)

Also, the supremacy clause says that the Constitution is "the supreme law of the land." The Supreme Court said,

The supremacy of the Constitution as law is thus declared without qualification. That supremacy is absolute; the supremacy of a statute enacted by Congress is not absolute but conditioned upon its being made in pursuance of the Constitution. And a judicial tribunal . . . . must apply the supreme law and reject the inferior statute whenever the two conflict. Carter v. Carter Coal Co., 298 U.S. 238, 296-297 (1935).

Those Supreme Court citations expressly apply just to statutes, but I see no reason why they shouldn't apply to court decisions as well.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 6:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Isaac said...

> Those Supreme Court citations expressly apply just to statutes, but I see no reason why they shouldn't apply to court decisions as well. <

Quite irrelevant to the issue of standing.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 10:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

Isaac,

Now you are seeing what we have dealt with for a few years. Larry finds his material with a word search. If the same words are seen in different things, he assumes that they are directly related. Good luck if you are trying logic with him.

There is definitely a disconnect here. He believes that if the federal courts have jurisdiction over certain areas, they should have the right to even file their own suits to make sure that they have material to judge.

Thursday, June 19, 2008 7:23:00 AM  

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