Public rights

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In America, public rights, as compared to private rights, belong to citizens but are vested in and vindicated by political entities. Public rights cannot be vindicated by private citizens. A right must normally be a private right to be vindicated in court.

An exception to this general proposition is found in Flast v. Cohen. 392 U.S. 83 (1968). In Flast the American Supreme Court held that a private citizen could challenge the constitutionality of a federal tax if the citizen established "a logical link between [their] status [as a taxpayer] and the type of legislative enactment attacked [and] . . . a nexus between that status and the precise nature of the constitutional infringement alleged."


  • Pushaw, Justiciability and Separation of Powers: A Neo-Federalist Approach, 81 Cornell L.Rev. 394, 458-63 (1996)
  • Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83 (1968)
  • "Note on Standing to Sue" in Hart and Weschler's the Federal Courts and the Federal Court System, 5th ed. (2003) p. 126