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Chenoweth v. Clinton

Citation: 29 ELR 21324
No. No. 98-5095, 181 F.3d 112/(D.C. Cir., 07/02/1999)

The court holds that congressional representatives lack standing to sue to enjoin implementation of the President's American Heritage Rivers Initiative, which was established by executive order. The representatives claim that by issuing the Executive Order, the President denied them their proper role in the legislative process and diminished their power as members of Congress. The court first holds that the representatives lack standing to pursue this lawsuit. The injury allegedly suffered by the representatives was identical to that addressed in Raines v. Byrd, 521 U.S. 811 (1997), where the injury was deprecated as "widely dispersed" and "abstract."

The court additionally holds that any benefit from case law that the representatives rely on to assert standing is taken away as a matter of equitable discretion. Because the parties' dispute is fully susceptible to political resolution, the court, in applying the relied on case law, would dismiss the complaint to avoid meddling in the internal affairs of the Legislative Branch.

Counsel for Appellants
William P. Pendley
Mountain States Legal Foundation
1660 Lincoln St., Ste. 2300, Denver CO 80264
(303) 861-0244

Counsel for Appellees
Ethan G. Shenkman
Environment and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 514-2000

Before Edwards and Tatel, JJ.