Congressional Participation in Article III Courts: Standing to Sue [September 4, 2014] [open pdf - 325KB]
"In disputes between Congress and the executive, questions arise about Congress's ability to turn to the federal courts for vindication of its powers and prerogatives, or for declarations that the executive is in violation of the law or the Constitution. This report seeks to provide an overview of Congress's ability to participate in litigation before Article III courts. The report is limited to a discussion of Congress's participation in litigation as either a plaintiff (e.g., the party initiating the suit alleging some sort of harm or violation of law) or as a third-party intervener (e.g., a party who is seeking to join litigation already initiated by another plaintiff). The report does not address situations where Congress or individual Members appear as a defendant, or congressional participation in court cases as 'amicus curiae' ('friend of the court'), as those situations do not raise the same legal and constitutional questions as does the involvement of Congress or its Members as a party plaintiff. Generally, to participate as party litigants, congressional plaintiffs, whether they be individual Members, committees, houses of Congress (i.e., the House or Senate), or legislative branch entities, must demonstrate that they meet the requirements of the standing doctrine, derived from Article III of the Constitution. The failure to satisfy the standing requirements is fatal to the litigation and will result in its dismissal without a decision by the court on the merits of the presented claims."
CRS Report for Congress, R412454