Monday, January 4, 2010
"Standing..." You Either Have It Or You Don't!
by j. Wright
Every time I see the U.S. Supreme Court mentioned regarding the possible constitutionality of a new bill that Congress in its infinite wisdom has just passed into law, my head wants to explode; reason being, I don't fully understand the legality of the term ''standing.''
Its my understanding that in order to bring a case before the SC Justices the plaintiff(s) or ones bringing suit, must have ''standing,'' because apparently the Court is not allowed to simply open a case on their own because of public sentiment or pressure, or even if they might think in their own minds that a law, or portion of it, is unconstitutional.
If we examined all of the laws Congress has passed in the past decade or longer and examined them for constitutionality, I'd wager many of them wouldn't pass muster, but still they remain on the books. Why, because someone with ''standing'' didn't bother to make a federal case out of it? Or if someone did, a liberal federal judge in a lower court threw the case out before it reached the high court in Washington, D.C.
Or, trial lawyers being what they are and whom they support (Read: the liberal left in our politcal family) are not necessarily apt to take up such mundane matters as constitutionality. But I digress.
Definition of “standing” in part says, ''...that in the United States, the current doctrine is that a person cannot bring a suit challenging the constitutionality of a law unless the plaintiff can demonstrate that the plaintiff is (or will imminently be) harmed by the law. Additionally, the party suing must have something to lose in order to sue unless they have automatic standing by action of law.''
If Congress passes a law next week mandating that all Americans MUST buy health insurance or be fined, and if the individual doesn't pay that fine they will be penalized a much larger amount and jailed, isn't that ''having something to lose?'' Such as one's liberty? Or is our loss of liberty just a foregone conclusion nowadays? Maybe the key word up there is ''imminently.''
Imminently we may find out.