Standing is not a Technicality

Bench Memos on National Review Online

The plaintiffs allege that the President, as an actor in our tripartite system of government, exceeds his constitutional authority by authorizing the NSA to engage in warrantless wiretaps of overseas communications under the TSP. But this court, not unlike the President, has constitutional limits of its own and, despite the important national interests at stake, cannot exceed its allotted authority. . . . It would ill behoove us to exceed our authority in order to condemn the President or Congress for exceeding theirs.

The 6th Circuit overruled a lower court’s decision allowing a lawsuit to proceed against the U.S. over the issue of warrantless wiretapping yesterday. I haven’t followed it too closely, but in multiple TV and radio reports, it was characterized as being overruled on a “legal technicality”.  As this quote from the majority opinion in the case emphasizes legal standing is not a technicality. It’s a constitutional requirement that must exist before a federal judge can decide a case.


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