March 24, 2004

Who cares about standing? 56 briefs were filed in the Pledge of Allegiance case, but the word "standing" appears in only 10 of them. That doesn't surprise me. I teach and write mostly about the structural limitations in constitutional law--federalism, separation of powers, judicial review--so I'm quite aware of the way this aspect of constitutional law is much less juicy and exciting to most people than the substantive rights. On the up side, there are only 10 briefs to peruse.

UPDATE: Ah, no, I'm wrong! The word "standing" appears in 45 of them. More work then, but the consolation of more attention to a subject that interests me ...

ANOTHER UPDATE: "Standing" was not a good search term for finding discussions of standing doctrine, because many of the briefs refer to the schoolchildren "standing" to say the Pledge. But in fact, most of the briefs discuss standing, generally in terms of the father's interest in suing on behalf of his child, despite his lack of joint custody. I'm especially interested in another argument, that he suffers an injury because the school's endorsement of God in the Pledge makes him, as an atheist, less well respected by his daughter. There's also an argument, that he is injured as a taxpayer. I don't have an opinion on the first argument for standing, which imports a lot of ideas from state family law into federal constitutional law. The other two arguments I think should fail. The taxpayer argument is particularly bad.

Another thing I've noticed is that 40% of the briefs that use the expression "de minimis" misspell it. Misspelling a key word in a Supreme Court brief--that's bad.

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