BOND v. U.S.
131 S.Ct. 2355 (2011)
Supreme Court of the United States.
Argued February 22, 2011.
But that is not its exclusive sphere of operation. Federalism is more than an exercise in setting the boundary between different institutions of government for their own integrity. "State sovereignty is not just an end in itself: `Rather, federalism secures to citizens the liberties that derive from the diffusion of sovereign power.'" New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144, 181, 112 S.Ct. 2408, 120 L.Ed.2d 120 (1992) (quoting Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 759, 111 S.Ct. 2546, 115 L.Ed.2d 640 (1991) (Blackmun, J., dissenting)). Some of these liberties are of a political character. The federal structure allows local policies "more sensitive to the diverse needs of a heterogeneous society," permits "innovation and experimentation," enables greater citizen "involvement in democratic processes," and makes government "more responsive by putting the States in competition for a mobile citizenry." Gregory v. Ashcroft, 501 U.S. 452, 458, 111 S.Ct. 2395, 115 L.Ed.2d 410 (1991). Federalism secures the freedom of the individual. It allows States to respond, through the enactment of positive law, to the initiative of those who seek a voice in shaping the destiny of their own times without having to rely solely upon the political processes that control a remote central power. True, of course, these objects cannot be vindicated by the Judiciary in the absence of a proper case or controversy; but the individual liberty secured by federalism is not simply derivative of the rights of the States.
Federalism also protects the liberty of all persons within a State by ensuring that laws enacted in excess of delegated governmental power cannot direct or control their actions. See ibid. By denying any one government complete jurisdiction over all the concerns of public life, federalism protects the liberty of the individual from arbitrary power. When government acts in excess of its lawful powers, that liberty is at stake.
The limitations that federalism entails are not therefore a matter of rights belonging only to the States. States are not the sole intended beneficiaries of federalism. See New York, supra, at 181, 112 S.Ct. 2408. An individual has a direct interest in objecting to laws that upset the constitutional balance between the National Government and the States when the enforcement of those laws causes injury that is concrete, particular, and redressable. Fidelity to principles of federalism is not for the States alone to vindicate.
The recognition of an injured person's standing to object to a violation of a constitutional principle that allocates power within government is illustrated, in an analogous context, by cases in which individuals sustain discrete, justiciable injury from actions that transgress separation-of-powers limitations. Separation-of-powers principles are intended, in part, to protect each branch of government from incursion by the others. Yet the dynamic between and among the branches is not the only object of the Constitution's concern. The structural principles secured by the separation of powers protect the individual as well.
In the precedents of this Court, the claims of individuals—not of Government departments—have been the principal source of judicial decisions concerning separation of powers and checks and balances. For example, the requirement that a bill enacted by Congress be presented to the President for signature before it can become law gives the President a check over Congress' exercise of legislative power. See U.S. Const., Art. I, § 7. Yet individuals, too, are protected by the operations of separation of powers and checks and balances; and they are not disabled from relying on those principles in otherwise justiciable cases and controversies. In INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919, 103 S.Ct. 2764, 77 L.Ed.2d 317 (1983), it was an individual who successfully challenged the so-called legislative veto—a procedure that Congress used in an attempt to invalidate an executive determination without presenting the measure to the President. The procedure diminished the role of the Executive, but the challenger sought to protect not the prerogatives of the Presidency as such but rather his own right to avoid deportation under an invalid order. Chadha's challenge was sustained. A cardinal principle of separation of powers was vindicated at the insistence of an individual, indeed one who was not a citizen of the United States but who still was a person whose liberty was at risk. Chadha is not unique in this respect. Compare Clinton v. City of New York, 524 U.S. 417, 433-436, 118 S.Ct. 2091, 141 L.Ed.2d 393 (1998) (injured parties have standing to challenge Presidential line-item veto) with Raines v. Byrd, 521 U.S. 811, 829-830, 117 S.Ct. 2312, 138 L.Ed.2d 849 (1997) (Congress Members do not); see also, e.g., Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Bd., 561 U.S. ___, 130 S.Ct. 3138, 177 L.Ed.2d 706 (2010); Plaut v. Spendthrift Farm, Inc., 514 U.S. 211, 115 S.Ct. 1447, 131 L.Ed.2d 328 (1995); Bowsher v. Synar, 478 U.S. 714, 106 S.Ct. 3181, 92 L.Ed.2d 583 (1986); Northern Pipeline Constr. Co. v. Marathon Pipe Line Co., 458 U.S. 50, 102 S.Ct. 2858, 73 L.Ed.2d 598 (1982); Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579, 72 S.Ct. 863, 96 L.Ed. 1153 (1952); A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, 295 U.S. 495, 55 S.Ct. 837, 79 L.Ed. 1570 (1935). If the constitutional structure of our Government that protects individual liberty is compromised, individuals who suffer otherwise justiciable injury may object.