Archive for the ‘Challenging Legislation’ Category

Some Precedent Lasts Forever

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

What happens if a bill approved by the House is not quite the same as the bill approved by the Senate?  Non-lawyers in the audience will be quick to point out that the bill cannot become law.  After all, to become law the bill has to be approved by both the House and the Senate and then signed by the President.


Of some interest, the application of the rule results in a “nonmerits dismissal.”  The case is dismissed before the court determines whether the parties have standing to sue.  That is, the rule cuts off the court’s authority even to consider a claim.  It does not even fall under the rubric of a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.  Thus, the court need not take the allegations of the complaint as true when ruling on the motion to dismiss.  Instead, the district court determines “whether the presiding officers of the House and Senate in fact signed the enrolled bill.”  If so, the only question left is whether the enrolled bill requires dismissal as a matter of law.