Massachusetts v. Mellon
|Massachusetts v. Mellon|
|Argued May 3–4, 1923
Decided June 4, 1923
|Full case name||Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury, et al.; Frothingham v. Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury, et al.|
|Citations||262 U.S. 447 (more)
43 S. Ct. 597; 67 L. Ed. 1078
|Majority||Sutherland, joined unanimously|
|Flast v. Cohen|
Massachusetts v. Mellon, 262 U.S. 447 (1923), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court rejected the concept of taxpayer standing. The case was consolidated with Frothingham v. Mellon. The plaintiffs in the cases, Frothingham and Massachusetts, sought to prevent certain federal government expenditures which they considered to violate the Fifth Amendment. The court rejected the suits on the basis that neither plaintiff suffered particularized harm, writing:
We have no power per se to review and annul acts of Congress on the ground that they are unconstitutional. The question may be considered only when the justification for some direct injury suffered or threatened, presenting a justiciable issue, is made to rest upon such an act…. The party who invokes the power must be able to show not only that the statute is invalid but that he has sustained or is immediately in danger of sustaining some direct injury as the result of its enforcement, and not merely that he suffers in some indefinite way in common with people generally.
The Warren Court would later carve out an exception to this rule in Flast v. Cohen, but later cases have confirmed that Flast is an exceedingly limited exception to Frothingham's general rule (see Valley Forge Christian College v. Americans United for Separation of Church and State and Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation).
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