Heather Elliott, University of Alabama School of Law

How the Supreme Court Dodged Marriage Equality Questions While Making Standing Doctrine Worse

Mon, 09/23/2013
4:30-6 PM, Kerstetter Room, Marx Hall

Please join us for a LAPA Seminar with Heather Elliott, Associate Professor of Law at University of Alabama School of Law, who will present "How the Supreme Court Dodged Marriage Equality Questions While Making Standing Doctrine Worse."

As always, the LAPA format asks that seminar participants familiarize themselves with the paper in advance. The commentator will open the session by summarizing the main themes in the paper and presenting some topics for discussion. The author then has the right of first response before we open to the floor for questions. The seminar will end with a brief reception in the Kerstetter Room, giving everyone a chance to mingle and meet.

Abstract:  "For at least the last quarter-century, the Court has applied its oft-criticized doctrine of Article III standing in determining federal appellate jurisdiction. Most recently, in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Court found it lacked appellate jurisdiction over the invalidation of California’s ban on same-sex marriage because, according to the Court, no party had standing to bring the appeal. The Court took a wrong turn a quarter-century ago and it reached the wrong decision in Perry.

I argue in this paper that, so long as the trial court had jurisdiction under the Court’s Article III standing doctrine, standing to appeal a judgment should be judged by a prudential standard that allows appellate courts to consider broader issues of separation of powers, federalism, and judicial power. By applying standing doctrine strictly at the appellate level, the Court is allowing parties to manipulate its jurisdiction and is undermining its constitutional role."

Heather Elliott is an associate professor at the University of Alabama School of Law. She earned her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) and her M.A. and M.Phil. degrees in political science from Yale University. She was a law clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the United States Supreme Court and for Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit; she also was an appellate litigator in the Washington D.C. offices of WilmerHale, where her practice involved cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court, and numerous other state and federal appeals courts. Professor Elliott's scholarship focuses on the role of courts and agencies in a democratic society and has been published in the Stanford Law Review, the Indiana Law Journal, the Boston University Law Review, and the Alabama Law Review, among others.

Funded by the Bouton Law Lecture Fund