Monday, April 18, 2016

Chief Justice Roberts to Side With Justices Who Say that Texas Lacks Standing in United States v. Texas?


 Adam Liptak writes of the possibility that Chief Justice John Roberts might side with the Obama administration in United State v. Texas and find, consistent with his previous interpretations of Article III standing doctrine, that Texas lacks standing to sue to enjoin the administration's expanded deferred action program.  Standing is one of the central issues in the case and likely will be the issue of some questioning at oral argument later this morning.

Roberts before joining the Supreme Court wrote in the Duke Law Journal that “[b]y preserving the proper bounds of Article III standing, the judiciary prevents itself from `aggrandiz[ing] itself . . . at the expense of one of the other branches.’” Roberts was defending the Court’s 1992 holding in Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife that environmental organizations lacked standing to challenge federal regulations under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Roberts noted that, although standing doctrine barred the plaintiffs from federal court, Congress could take the action sought by the environmental groups:

"Standing is an apolitical limitation on judicial power. It restricts the right of conservative public interest groups to challenge liberal agency action or inaction, just as it restricts the right of liberal public interest groups to challenge conservative agency action or inaction. It . . . derive[s] from and promote[s] a conception that judicial power is properly limited in a democratic society. That leaves greater responsibility to the political branches of government – however they are inclined."

Chief Justice Roberts dissented in Massachusetts v. EPA, in which the Court found that the state of Massachusetts had standing to seek to force the administration to regulate greenhouse gases.  The state of Texas relies on that case in arguing that it has standing. 


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