Monday, July 18, 2005

It is not often that I disagree with Bob Bauer (and possibly Alison Hayward) but I think Bob is wrong about the standing issue in Shays v FEC.
In voting rights cases, the requirements for standing are not high. A person may have standing as a voter, that they don't have as a taxpayer. In order to have standing, a person must be affected in some way by the outcome of the case. There is nothing that says plaintiffs can't have ulterior motives. Here, Shays and Meehan have a personal stake in the incumbent protection scheme they worked so hard to pass. That is enough to give them standing. It was written to deter people from being able to run against them and win. It is in their interest to obtain vigorous enforcement, or alternatively to find out if some portions are unenforcible. If they don't have standing, who does?
Standing is a legitimate concept; federal courts don't issue advisory opinions, but decide cases and controversies. But I get annoyed at government officals who have a checklist of frivolous defenses they always use, of which standing is one. Granted, I'm stating my case rather strongly for not having read the opinion. But we've been through this before.

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