Brief Fact Summary. Respondents, Parents of black school children (Respondents), filed a class action law suit against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (Petitioner) arguing that Petitioner had failed to carry out its obligation to deny tax-exempt status to schools that discriminate.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. An asserted right to have the Government act in accordance with the law is not sufficient, standing alone, to confer jurisdiction in a federal court.
Issue. Did Respondents suffer sufficient injury to bring the class action suit?
Held. No. Respondents lacked standing.
For an injury to be sufficient to ground a lawsuit, it must be “distinct and palpable” and not abstract, conjectural or hypothetical.
Plus, the injury must be “fairly traceable to the challenged action and relief from the injury must be likely to follow from a favorable decision.
The illegal conduct challenged by Respondents is Petitioner’s grant of tax exemptions to some racially discriminatory schools.
The line of causation between that conduct and desegregation of Respondent’s schools is highly indirect and results from the independent action of some third party not before the court.
An asserted right to have the Government act in accordance with the law is not sufficient, by itself, to confer jurisdiction on a federal court.
To allow standing in such cases would pave the way for myriad law suits and have the courts acting as “continuing monitors of the wisdom and soundness of Executive action.”
Prudential standing encompasses the general prohibition on a litigant's raising another person's legal rights, the rule barring adjudication of generalized grievances more appropriately addressed in the representative branches, and the requirement that a plaintiff's complaint fall within the zone of interests protected by the law invoked.View Full Point of Law