Standing for the Structural Constitution

Article — Volume 99, Issue 7

99 Va. L. Rev. 1435
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Who speaks in federal court for the structural principles of the federal Constitution? Under familiar practice—endorsed by the Supreme Court in its 2011 decision Bond v. United States—it is not solely the institutions empowered directly by federalism or the separation of powers but also individual litigants who can raise structural constitutional objections. Such individual standing for the structural constitution is unusual because, in effect, it enables a species of third-party standing elsewhere condemned by the Court.  This Article analyzes individual standing for the structural constitution from both doctrinal and political economy perspectives. Such individual standing, I contend, conflicts with Article III’s larger ambition to exclude from federal court those controversies with excessive externalities. Consideration of structural litigation’s political economy further shows that enlarging the pool of litigants by allowing individual as well as institutions to sue is unlikely to yield closer conformity to the Constitution given interest group dynamics. As an alternative to the current regime, the Article specifies a straitened regime of narrow justiciability that is more harmonious with Article III goals and more likely to secure fidelity to the structural constitution. 

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  Volume 99 / Issue 7  

The Imbecilic Executive

By Saikrishna Bangalore Prakash
99 Va. L. Rev. 1361

Standing for the Structural Constitution

By Aziz Z. Huq
99 Va. L. Rev. 1435

Inferred Classifications

By Stephen M. Rich
99 Va. L. Rev. 1525

National Security Trials: A Judge’s Perspective

By T.S. Ellis, III
99 Va. L. Rev. 1607