Raines v. Byrd

521 U.S. 811, 117 S. Ct. 2312 (1997)



One element of the case-or-controversy requirement under U.S. Const. art. III, § 2 is that plaintiff, based on their complaint, must establish that they have standing to sue. The standing inquiry focuses on whether the plaintiff is the proper party to bring this suit, although that inquiry often turns on the nature and source of the claim asserted. To meet the standing requirements of U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, a plaintiff must allege personal injury fairly traceable to the defendant's allegedly unlawful conduct and likely to be redressed by the requested relief. The Supreme Court has consistently stressed that a plaintiff's complaint must establish that he has a personal stake in the alleged dispute, and that the alleged injury suffered is particularized as to him.


Congress passed the Line Item Veto Act (the Act), which gave the President the power to cancel items in any bill. Congress members filed an action challenging the constitutionality of the Act. The Congress members claimed standing based on a loss of political power, not loss of any private right. The court found that appellees had standing to pursue the action, and that the Act was unconstitutional.


Did the Congress members have legal standing to sue?




The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Congress members lacked standing because they did not allege they had been individually or concretely harmed by the Act, only that official congressional power as a whole was affected. The Congress members had not voted for a bill that was affected by the Act. Congress' power to enact or repeal bills was not affected. Congress approved the Act and was also able to repeal it if it desired.

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