Raines v. Byrd, 521 U.S. 811 (1997)

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appeal from the united states district court for the district of columbia

No. 96-1671. Argued May 27, 1997—Decided June 26, 1997

Appellees, Members of the 104th Congress, voted "nay" when Congress passed the Line Item Veto Act (Act), which gives the President the authority to cancel certain spending and tax benefit measures after he has signed them into law. The day after the Act went into effect, they filed suit against appellants, Executive Branch officials, challenging the Act's constitutionality. The District Court denied appellants' motion to dismiss, finding that appellees' claim that the Act diluted their Article I voting power was sufficient to confer Article III standing; and that their claim was ripe, even though the President had not yet used the Act's cancellation authority, because they found themselves in a position of unanticipated and unwelcome subservience to the President before and after their votes on appropriations bills. The court then granted appel-lees summary judgment, holding that the Act violated the Presentment Clause, Art. I, § 7, cl. 2, and constituted an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to the President.

Held: Appellees lack standing to bring this suit. Pp. 818-830. (a) The federal courts have jurisdiction over this dispute only if it is a case or controversy. Art. III, § 2. In order to meet the standing element of the case-or-controversy requirement, appellees must allege a personal injury that is particularized, concrete, and otherwise judicially cognizable. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U. S. 555, 561; Allen v. Wright, 468 U. S. 737, 751. This Court insists on strict compliance with the jurisdictional standing requirement, see, e. g., id., at 752, and its standing inquiry is especially rigorous when reaching the merits of a dispute would force it to decide the constitutionality of an action taken by one of the other two branches of the Federal Government. Pp. 818-820. (b) This Court has never had occasion to rule on the legislative standing question presented here. Appellees are not helped by Powell v. McCormack, 395 U. S. 486, 496, 512-514, in which the Court held that a Congressman's challenge to the constitutionality of his exclusion from the House of Representatives presented an Article III case or controversy. Appellees have not been singled out for specially unfavorable treatment as opposed to other Members of their respective bodies, but


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