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Flashcards in Federal Court System Deck (20)
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Federal courts are limited to what type of jurisdiction?

  1. Law-based federal jurisdiction
  2. Party-based federal jurisdiction


Law-Based Federal Jurisdiction

  1. Cases arising under the constitution and federal laws
  2. Admiralty and maritime cases


Party-Based Federal Jurisdiction

5 types of cases:

  1. U.S. gov't
  2. State v. State
  3. State v. Other state's citizens
  4. Citizens from different states with $75K in controversy (diversity jurisdiction)
  5. Foreign diplomats


11th Amendment

State sovereing immunity bars private individual from suing states for money damages in any court


Exceptions to the application of the 11the Amendment

  1. suits against state officials for abusing their power in enforcing an unconstitutional state statute;

  2. federal suits brought by one state against another state, or suits brought by the federal government against a state; and

  3. most suits for injunctions—e.g., a private citizen may sue to enjoin a state official from acting in violation of the plaintiff’s federal constitutional rights.

  4. A state may consent to suit in federal court if it clearly waives its Eleventh Amendment immunity and does so expressly and unequivocally (or by voluntarily invoking a federal court’s jurisdiction). 

  5. Enforcement powers - Congress can authorize private suits by individuals for violations of 13th, 14th, and 15 Amendments


Limitation of federal court jurisdiction

Article III, Section 2 limits federal court jurisdiction to "cases" and "controversies"


Plaintiff must meet R.A.M.P.S. requirements in order to get into federal court




For Standing, plaintiff must show:

  1. injury-in-fact;

  2. causation (the injury was caused by the challenged action); and

  3. redressability. 


What is Injury-In-Fact?

Plaintiff must show actual or imminent personal injury,

caused by the action he is challenging



∆'s conduct must have caused the injury



The litigation, if it succeeds, must remedy the injury


beneift the plaintiff


When is 3rd party standing permitted?

Party can raise 3rd party constitutional rights where he himself has suffered injury AND:

  1.  special relationship exists between the claimant and third party because of the connection between the interests of the claimant and the constitutional rights of the third person; or 

  2. 3rd party is unable or finds it difficult to bring the suit on his own behalf


When does an organization have standing?


  1. The members would otherwise have standing to sue;
  2. the interest asserted is germane to the association’s purpose; and 

  3. Member participation is not required



Ripenessbarsconsideration of claims before they have fully developed 


Generally, a court may not review or grant a declaratory judgment of a state law before it is enforced or when there is no real threat the statute will ever be enforced 



If a controversy or matter has already been resolved, then the case will be dismissed as moot. 


Political Question

Federal courts cannot hear cases involving political questions 


What is a political question

a matter assigned to another branch by the constitution or incapable of a judicial answer


Factors SCOTUS uses to determine what is a political question

  1. Textual commitment
  2. No standards 



  • The federal court may abstain, or refuse to hear, a particular case when there are undecided issues of state law presented

  • The federal court may abstain if the meaning of a state law or regulation is unclear 

  • SCOTUS will not a hear a case from state high court if the state court decision can be supported by state law grounds


What kind jurisdiction does SCOTUS have?

  1. Original
  2. Appellate