The Political Question Doctrine
Widener University Delaware Law School
September 20, 2011
PRINCIPLES OF CONSTITUTIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW, p. 217, James May, ed., American Bar Association, 2011
Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-33
This chapter addresses the extraordinary notion that the Constitution might insulate from federal judicial review some areas of environmental law, including even traditional common law tort causes of action. How? The answer lies in understanding the political question doctrine, under which a federal court concludes that a case is not justiciable because it is somehow textually or prudentially consigned to the elected branches of government. The doctrine's effect makes it particularly important to practitioners and to the very development of the law: A case dismissed under the political question doctrine ends without needing to reach the statutory, common law, or constitutional questions addressed with in this book. Moreover, pleadings, discovery, and motion practice are obviated, and the case is disposed of - merits aside - lock, stock, and barrel. Case closed.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 26
Keywords: political question doctrine, environmental law, constitutional law
JEL Classification: K32
Date posted: September 30, 2011
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