No. 96-1671 Raines v. Byrd (96-1671), 521 U.S. 811 (1997)
[ Souter ]
[ Stevens ]
[ Breyer ]
[ Rehnquist ]
HTML version
WordPerfect version
HTML version
WordPerfect version
HTML version
WordPerfect version
HTML version
WordPerfect version
HTML version
WordPerfect version

NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in the preliminary print of the United States Reports. Readers are requested to notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Court of the United States, Washington, D.C. 20543, of any typographical or other formal errors, in order that corrections may be made before the preliminary print goes to press.


No. 96-1671


on appeal from the united states district court for the district of columbia

[June 26, 1997]

Chief Justice Rehnquist delivered the opinion of the Court. [n.*]

The District Court for the District of Columbia declared the Line Item Veto Act unconstitutional. On this direct appeal, we hold that appellees lack standing to bring this suit, and therefore direct that the judgment of the District Court be vacated and the complaint dismissed.

The appellees are six Members of Congress, four of whom served as Senators and two of whom served as Congressmen in the 104th Congress (1995-1996). [n.1] On March 27, 1996, the Senate passed a bill entitled the Line Item Veto Act by a vote of 69-31. All four appellee Senators voted "nay." 142 Cong. Rec. S2995. The next day, the House of Representatives passed the identical bill by a vote of 232-177. Both appellee Congressmen voted "nay." Id., at H2986. On April 4, 1996, the President signed the Line Item Veto Act (Act) into law. Pub. L. 104-130, 110 Stat. 1200, codified at 2 U. S. C. A. §691 et seq. (Supp. 1997). The Act went into effect on January 1, 1997. See Pub. L. 104-130, §5. The next day, appellees filed a complaint in the District Court for the District of Columbia against the two appellants, the Secretary of the Treasury and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, alleging that the Act was unconstitutional.

The provisions of the Line Item Veto Act do not use the term "veto." Instead, the President is given the authority to "cancel" certain spending and tax benefit measures after he has signed them into law. Specifically, the Act provides:

"[T]he President may, with respect to any bill or joint resolution that has been signed into law pursuant to Article I, section 7, of the Constitution of the United States, cancel in whole--(1) any dollar amount of discretionary budget authority; (2) any item of new direct spending; or (3) any limited tax benefit; if the President--

"(A) determines that such cancellation will--(i) reduce the Federal budget deficit; (ii) not impair any essential Government functions; and (iii) not harm the national interest; and

"(B) notifies the Congress of such cancellation by transmitting a special message . . . within five calendar days (excluding Sundays) after the enactment of the law [to which the cancellation applies]." §691(a) (some indentations omitted).

The President's "cancellation" under the Act takes effect when the "special message" notifying Congress of the cancellation is received in the House and Senate. With respect to dollar amounts of "discretionary budget authority," a cancellation means "to rescind." §691e(4)(A). With respect to "new direct spending" items or "limited tax benefit[s]," a cancellation means that the relevant legal provision, legal obligation, or budget authority is "prevent[ed] . . . from having legal force or effect." §§691e(4)(B), (C).

The Act establishes expedited procedures in both Houses for the consideration of "disapproval bills," §691d, bills or joint resolutions which, if enacted into law by the familiar procedures set out in Article I, §7 of the Constitution, would render the President's cancellation "null and void," §691b(a). "Disapproval bills" may only be one sentence long and must read as follows after the enacting clause: "That Congress disapproves of cancellations _______ as transmitted by the President in a special message on ______ regarding ________." §691e(6)(C). (The blank spaces correspond to the cancellation reference numbers as set out in the special message, the date of the President's special message, and the public law number to which the special message relates, respectively. Ibid.)

The Act provides that "[a]ny Member of Congress or any individual adversely affected by [this Act] may bring an action, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief on the ground that any provision of this part violates the Constitution." §692(a)(1). Appellees brought suit under this provision, claiming that "[t]he Act violates Article I" of the Constitution. Complaint ¶17. Specifically, they alleged that the Act "unconstitutionally expands the President's power," and "violates the requirements of bicameral passage and presentment by granting to the President, acting alone, the authority to `cancel' and thus repeal provisions of federal law." Ibid. They alleged that the Act injured them "directly and concretely . . . in their official capacities" in three ways:

"The Act . . . (a) alter[s] the legal and practical effect of all votes they may cast on bills containing such separately vetoable items, (b) divest[s] the [appellees] of their constitutional role in the repeal of legislation, and (c) alter[s] the constitutional balance of powers between the Legislative and Executive Branches, both with respect to measures containing separately vetoable items and with respect to other matters coming before Congress." Id., ¶14.

Appellants moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, claiming (among other things) that appellees lacked standing to sue and that their claim was not ripe. Both sides also filed motions for summary judgment on the merits. On April 10, 1997, the District Court (i) denied appellants' motion to dismiss, holding that appellees had standing to bring this suit and that their claim was ripe, and (ii) granted appellees' summary judgment motion, holding that the Act is unconstitutional. 956 F. Supp. 25. As to standing, the court noted that the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia "has repeatedly recognized Members' standing to challenge measures that affect their constitutionally prescribed lawmaking powers." Id., at 30 (citing, e.g., Michel v. Anderson, 14 F. 3d 623, 625 (CADC 1994); Moore v. U. S. House of Representatives, 733 F. 2d 946, 950-952 (CADC 1984)). See also 956 F. Supp., at 31 ("[T]he Supreme Court has never endorsed the [Court of Appeals'] analysis of standing in such cases"). The court held that appellees' claim that the Act "dilute[d] their Article I voting power" was sufficient to confer Article III standing: "[Appellees'] votes mean something different from what they meant before, for good or ill, and [appellees] who perceive it as the latter are thus `injured' in a constitutional sense whenever an appropriations bill comes up for a vote, whatever the President ultimately does with it. . . . Under the Act the dynamic of lawmaking is fundamentally altered. Compromises and trade offs by individual lawmakers must take into account the President's item by item cancellation power looming over the end product." Ibid.

The court held that appellees' claim was ripe even though the President had not yet used the "cancellation" authority granted him under the Act: "Because [appellees] now find themselves in a position of unanticipated and unwelcome subservience to the President before and after they vote on appropriations bills, Article III is satisfied, and this Court may accede to Congress' directive to address the constitutional cloud over the Act as swiftly as possible." Id., at 32 (referring to §692(a)(1), the section of the Act granting Members of Congress the right to challenge the Act's constitutionality in court). On the merits, the court held that the Act violated the Presentment Clause, Art. I, §7, cl. 2, and constituted an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to the President. 956 F. Supp., at 33, 35, 37-38.

The Act provides for a direct, expedited appeal to this Court. §692(b) (direct appeal to Supreme Court); §692(c) ("It shall be the duty of . . . the Supreme Court of the United States to advance on the docket and to expedite to the greatest possible extent the disposition of any [suit challenging the Act's constitutionality] brought under [§3(a) of the Act]"). On April 18, eight days after the District Court issued its order, appellants filed a jurisdictional statement asking us to note probable jurisdiction, and on April 21, appellees filed a memorandum in response agreeing that we should note probable jurisdiction. On April 23, we did so. 520 U. S. ___ (1997). We established an expedited briefing schedule and heard oral argument on May 27. [n.2] We now hold that appellees have no standing to bring this suit, and therefore direct that the judgment of the District Court be vacated and the complaint dismissed.

Under Article III, §2 of the Constitution, the federal courts have jurisdiction over this dispute between appellants and appellees only if it is a "case" or "controversy." This is a "bedrock requirement." Valley Forge Christian College v. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Inc., 454 U.S. 464, 471 (1982). As we said in Simon v. Eastern Ky. Welfare Rights Organization, 426 U.S. 26, 37 (1976), "No principle is more fundamental to the judiciary's proper role in our system of government than the constitutional limitation of federal court jurisdiction to actual cases or controversies."

One element of the case or controversy requirement is that appellees, based on their complaint, must establish that they have standing to sue. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992) (plaintiff bears burden of establishing standing). The standing inquiry focuses on whether the plaintiff is the proper party to bring this suit, Simon, supra, at 38, although that inquiry "often turns on the nature and source of the claim asserted," Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 500 (1975). To meet the standing requirements of Article III, "[a] plaintiff must allege personal injury fairly traceable to the defendant's allegedly unlawful conduct and likely to be redressed by the requested relief." Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737, 751 (1984) (emphasis added). For our purposes, the italicized words in this quotation from Allen are the key ones. We have consistently stressed that a plaintiff's complaint must establish that he has a "personal stake" in the alleged dispute, and that the alleged injury suffered is particularized as to him. See, e.g., Lujan, 504 U. S., at 560-561 and n. 1 (to have standing, the plaintiff must have suffered a "particularized" injury, which means that "the injury must affect the plaintiff in a personal and individual way"); Bender v. Williamsport Area School Dist., 475 U.S. 534, 543-544 (1986) (school board member who "has no personal stake in the outcome of the litigation" has no standing); Simon, supra, at 39 ("The necessity that the plaintiff who seeks to invoke judicial power stand to profit in some personal interest remains an Art. III requirement").

We have also stressed that the alleged injury must be legally and judicially cognizable. This requires, among other things, that the plaintiff have suffered "an invasion of a legally protected interest which is . . . concrete and particularized," Lujan, 504 U. S., at 560, and that the dispute is "traditionally thought to be capable of resolution through the judicial process," Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83, 97 (1968). See also Allen, 468 U. S., at 752 ("Is the injury too abstract, or otherwise not appropriate, to be considered judicially cognizable?").

We have always insisted on strict compliance with this jurisdictional standing requirement. See, e.g, ibid. (under Article III, "federal courts may exercise power only `in the last resort, and as a necessity' ") (quoting Chicago & Grand Trunk R. Co. v. Wellman, 143 U.S. 339, 345 (1892)); Muskrat v. United States, 219 U.S. 346, 356 (1911) ("[F]rom its earliest history this [C]ourt has consistently declined to exercise any powers other than those which are strictly judicial in their nature"). And our standing inquiry has been especially rigorous when reaching the merits of the dispute would force us to decide whether an action taken by one of the other two branches of the Federal Government was unconstitutional. See, e.g., Bender, supra, at 542; Valley Forge, supra, at 473-474 . As we said in Allen, supra, at 752, "the law of Art. III standing is built on a single basic idea--the idea of separation of powers." In the light of this overriding and time honored concern about keeping the Judiciary's power within its proper constitutional sphere, [n.3] we must put aside the natural urge to proceed directly to the merits of this important dispute and to "settle" it for the sake of convenience and efficiency. Instead, we must carefully inquire as to whether appellees have met their burden of establishing that their claimed injury is personal, particularized, concrete, and otherwise judicially cognizable.

We have never had occasion to rule on the question of legislative standing presented here. [n.4] In Powell v. McCormack, 395 U.S. 486, 496, 512-514 (1969), we held that a Member of Congress' constitutional challenge to his exclusion from the House of Representatives (and his consequent loss of salary) presented an Article III case or controversy. But Powell does not help appellees. First, appellees have not been singled out for specially unfavorable treatment as opposed to other Members of their respective bodies. Their claim is that the Act causes a type of institutional injury (the diminution of legislative power), which necessarily damages all Members of Congress and both Houses of Congress equally. See n. 7, infra. Second, appellees do not claim that they have been deprived of something to which they personally are entitled--such as their seats as Members of Congress after their constituents had elected them. Rather, appellees' claim of standing is based on a loss of political power, not loss of any private right, which would make the injury more concrete. Unlike the injury claimed by Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, the injury claimed by the Members of Congress here is not claimed in any private capacity but solely because they are Members of Congress. See Complaint ¶14 (purporting to sue "in their official capacities"). If one of the Members were to retire tomorrow, he would no longer have a claim; the claim would be possessed by his successor instead. The claimed injury thus runs (in a sense) with the Member's seat, a seat which the Member holds (it may quite arguably be said) as trustee for his constituents, not as a prerogative of personal power. See The Federalist No. 62, p. 378 (J. Madison) (C. Rossiter ed. 1961) ("It is a misfortune incident to republican government, though in a less degree than to other governments, that those who administer it may forget their obligations to their constituents and prove unfaithful to their important trust").

The one case in which we have upheld standing for legislators (albeit state legislators) claiming an institutional injury is Coleman v. Miller, 307 U.S. 433 (1939). Appellees, relying heavily on this case, claim that they, like the state legislators in Coleman, "have a plain, direct and adequate interest in maintaining the effectiveness of their votes," id., at 438, sufficient to establish standing. In Coleman, 20 of Kansas' 40 State Senators voted not to ratify the proposed "Child Labor Amendment" to the Federal Constitution. With the vote deadlocked 20-20, the amendment ordinarily would not have been ratified. However, the State's Lieutenant Governor, the presiding officer of the State Senate, cast a deciding vote in favor of the amendment, and it was deemed ratified (after the State House of Representatives voted to ratify it). The 20 State Senators who had voted against the amendment, joined by a 21st State Senator and three State House Members, filed an action in the Kansas Supreme Court seeking a writ of mandamus that would compel the appropriate state officials to recognize that the legislature had not in fact ratified the amendment. That court held that the members of the legislature had standing to bring their mandamus action, but ruled against them on the merits. See id., at 436-437.

This Court affirmed. By a vote of 5-4, we held that the members of the legislature had standing. [n.5] In explaining our holding, we repeatedly emphasized that if these legislators (who were suing as a bloc) were correct on the merits, then their votes not to ratify the amendment were deprived of all validity:

"Here, the plaintiffs include twenty senators, whose votes against ratification have been overridden and virtually held for naught although if they are right in their contentions their votes would have been sufficient to defeat ratification. We think that these senators have a plain, direct, and adequate interest in maintaining the effectiveness of their votes." Id., at 438 (emphasis added).

"[T]he twenty senators were not only qualified to vote on the question of ratification but their votes, if the Lieutenant governor were excluded as not being a part of the legislature for that purpose, would have been decisive in defeating the ratifying resolution." Id., at 441 (emphasis added).

"[W]e find no departure from principle in recognizing in the instant case that at least the twenty senators whose votes, if their contention were sustained, would have been sufficient to defeat the resolution ratifying the proposed constitutional amendment, have an interest in the controversy which, treated by the state court as a basis for entertaining and deciding the federal questions, is sufficient to give the Court jurisdiction to review that decision." Id., at 446 (emphasis added).

It is obvious, then, that our holding in Coleman stands (at most, see n. 8, infra) for the proposition that legislators whose votes would have been sufficient to defeat (or enact) a specific legislative act have standing to sue if that legislative action goes into effect (or does not go into effect), on the ground that their votes have been completely nullified. [n.6]

It should be equally obvious that appellees' claim does not fall within our holding in Coleman, as thus understood. They have not alleged that they voted for a specific bill, that there were sufficient votes to pass the bill, and that the bill was nonetheless deemed defeated. In the vote on the Line Item Veto Act, their votes were given full effect. They simply lost that vote. [n.7] Nor can they allege that the Act will nullify their votes in the future in the same way that the votes of the Coleman legislators had been nullified. In the future, a majority of Senators and Congressman can pass or reject appropriations bills; the Act has no effect on this process. In addition, a majority of Senators and Congressman can vote to repeal the Act, or to exempt a given appropriations bill (or a given provision in an appropriations bill) from the Act; again, the Act has no effect on this process. Coleman thus provides little meaningful precedent for appellees' argument. [n.8]

Nevertheless, appellees rely heavily on our statement in Coleman that the Kansas senators had "a plain, direct, and adequate interest in maintaining the effectiveness of their votes." Appellees claim that this statement applies to them because their votes on future appropriations bills (assuming a majority of Congress does not decide to exempt those bills from the Act) will be less "effective" than before, and that the "meaning" and "integrity" of their vote has changed. Brief for Appellees 24, 28. The argument goes as follows. Before the Act, Members of Congress could be sure that when they voted for, and Congress passed, an appropriations bill that included funds for Project X, one of two things would happen: (i) the bill would become law and all of the projects listed in the bill would go into effect, or (ii) the bill would not become law and none of the projects listed in the bill would go into effect. Either way, a vote for the appropriations bill meant a vote for a package of projects that were inextricably linked. After the Act, however, a vote for an appropriations bill that includes Project X means something different. Now, in addition to the two possibilities listed above, there is a third option: the bill will become law and then the President will "cancel" Project X. [n.9]

Even taking appellees at their word about the change in the "meaning" and "effectiveness" of their vote for appropriations bills which are subject to the Act, we think their argument pulls Coleman too far from its moorings. Appellees' use of the word "effectiveness" to link their argument to Coleman stretches the word far beyond the sense in which the Coleman opinion used it. There is a vast difference between the level of vote nullification at issue in Coleman and the abstract dilution of institutional legislative power that is alleged here. To uphold standing here would require a drastic extension of Coleman. We are unwilling to take that step.

Not only do appellees lack support from precedent, but historical practice appears to cut against them as well. It is evident from several episodes in our history that in analogous confrontations between one or both Houses of Congress and the Executive Branch, no suit was brought on the basis of claimed injury to official authority or power. The Tenure of Office Act, passed by Congress over the veto of President Andrew Johnson in 1867, was a thorn in the side of succeeding Presidents until it was finally repealed at the behest of President Grover Cleveland in 1887. See generally W. Rehnquist, Grand Inquests: The Historic Impeachments of Justice Samuel Chase and President Andrew Johnson 210-235, 260-268 (1992). It provided that an official whose appointment to an Executive Branch office required confirmation by the Senate could not be removed without the consent of the Senate. 14 Stat. 430, ch. 154. In 1868, Johnson removed his Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton. Within a week, the House of Representatives impeached Johnson. 1 Trial of Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, Before the Senate of the United States on Impeachment by the House of Representatives for High Crimes and Misdemeanors 4 (1868). One of the principal charges against him was that his removal of Stanton violated the Tenure of Office Act. Id., at 6-8. At the conclusion of his trial before the Senate, Johnson was acquitted by one vote. 2 id., at 487, 496-498. Surely Johnson had a stronger claim of diminution of his official power as a result of the Tenure of Office Act than do the appellees in the present case. Indeed, if their claim were sustained, it would appear that President Johnson would have had standing to challenge the Tenure of Office Act before he ever thought about firing a cabinet member, simply on the grounds that it altered the calculus by which he would nominate someone to his cabinet. Yet if the federal courts had entertained an action to adjudicate the constitutionality of the Tenure of Office Act immediately after its passage in 1867, they would have been improperly and unnecessarily plunged into the bitter political battle being waged between the President and Congress.

Succeeding Presidents--Ulysses S. Grant and Grover Cleveland--urged Congress to repeal the Tenure of Office Act, and Cleveland's plea was finally heeded in 1887. 24 Stat. 500, ch. 353. It occurred to neither of these Presidents that they might challenge the Act in an Article III court. Eventually, in a suit brought by a plaintiff with traditional Article III standing, this Court did have the opportunity to pass on the constitutionality of the provision contained in the Tenure of Office Act. A sort of mini Tenure of Office Act covering only the Post-Office Department had been enacted in 1872, 17 Stat. 284, ch. 335, §2, and it remained on the books after the Tenure of Office Act's repeal in 1887. In the last days of the Woodrow Wilson administration, Albert Burleson, Wilson's Postmaster General, came to believe that Frank Myers, the Postmaster in Portland, Oregon, had committed fraud in the course of his official duties. When Myers refused to resign, Burleson, acting at the direction of the President, removed him. Myers sued in the Court of Claims to recover lost salary. In Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52 (1926), more than half a century after Johnson's impeachment, this Court held that Congress could not require senatorial consent to the removal of a Postmaster who had been appointed by the President with the consent of the Senate. Id., at 106-107, 173, 176. In the course of its opinion, the Court expressed the view that the original Tenure of Office Act was unconstitutional. Id., at 176. See also id., at 173 ("This Court has, since the Tenure of Office Act, manifested an earnest desire to avoid a final settlement of the question until it should be inevitably presented, as it is here").

If the appellees in the present case have standing, presumably President Wilson, or Presidents Grant and Cleveland before him, would likewise have had standing, and could have challenged the law preventing the removal of a presidential appointee without the consent of Congress. Similarly, in INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919 (1983), the Attorney General would have had standing to challenge the one House veto provision because it rendered his authority provisional rather than final. By parity of reasoning, President Gerald Ford could have sued to challenge the appointment provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act which were struck down in Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976), and a Member of Congress could have challenged the validity of President Coolidge's pocket veto that was sustained in The Pocket Veto Case, 279 U.S. 655 (1929).

There would be nothing irrational about a system which granted standing in these cases; some European constitutional courts operate under one or another variant of such a regime. See, e.g., Favoreu, Constitutional Review in Europe, in Constitutionalism and Rights 38, 41 (L. Henkin & A. Rosenthal eds. 1990); Wright Sheive, Central and Eastern European Constitutional Courts and the Antimajoritarian Objection to Judicial Review, 26 Law & Pol'y Int'l Bus. 1201, 1209 (1995); A. Stone, The Birth of Judicial Politics in France 232 (1992); D. Kommers, Judicial Politics in West Germany: A Study of the Federal Constitutional Court 106 (1976). But it is obviously not the regime that has obtained under our Constitution to date. Our regime contemplates a more restricted role for Article III courts, well expressed by Justice Powell in his concurring opinion in United States v. Richardson, 418 U.S. 166 (1974):

"The irreplaceable value of the power articulated by Mr. Chief Justice Marshall [in Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137 (1803)] lies in the protection it has afforded the constitutional rights and liberties of individual citizens and minority groups against oppressive or discriminatory government action. It is this role, not some amorphous general supervision of the operations of government, that has maintained public esteem for the federal courts and has permitted the peaceful coexistence of the countermajoritarian implications of judicial review and the democratic principles upon which our Federal Government in the final analysis rests." Id., at 192.

In sum, appellees have alleged no injury to themselves as individuals (contra Powell), the institutional injury they allege is wholly abstract and widely dispersed (contra Coleman), and their attempt to litigate this dispute at this time and in this form is contrary to historical experience. We attach some importance to the fact that appellees have not been authorized to represent their respective Houses of Congress in this action, and indeed both Houses actively oppose their suit. [n.10] See n. 2, supra. We also note that our conclusion neither deprives Members of Congress of an adequate remedy (since they may repeal the Act or exempt appropriations bills from its reach), nor forecloses the Act from constitutional challenge (by someone who suffers judicially cognizable injury as a result of the Act). Whether the case would be different if any of these circumstances were different we need not now decide.

We therefore hold that these individual members of Congress do not have a sufficient "personal stake" in this dispute and have not alleged a sufficiently concrete injury to have established Article III standing. [n.11] The judgment of the District Court is vacated, and the case is remanded with instructions to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction.

It is so ordered.


* Justice Ginsburg joins this opinion.

1 Three of the Senators--Robert Byrd, Carl Levin, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan--are still Senators. The fourth--Mark Hatfield--retired at the end of the 104th Congress. The two Congressmen--David Skaggs and Henry Waxman--remain Congressmen.

2 The House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (made up of the Speaker, the Majority Leader, the Minority Leader, and the two Whips) and the Senate filed a joint brief as amici curiae urging that the District Court be reversed on the merits. Their brief states that they express no position as to appellees' standing.

3 It is settled that Congress cannot erase Article III's standing requirements by statutorily granting the right to sue to a plaintiff who would not otherwise have standing. Gladstone, Realtors v. Village of Bellwood, 441 U.S. 91, 100 (1979). We acknowledge, though, that Congress' decision to grant a particular plaintiff the right to challenge an act's constitutionality (as here, see §692(a)(1), supra, at 3) eliminates any prudential standing limitations and significantly lessens the risk of unwanted conflict with the Legislative Branch when that plaintiff brings suit. See, e.g., Bennett v. Spear, 520 U. S. ___, ___ (1997) (slip op., at 9-10).

4 Over strong dissent, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has held that Members of Congress may have standing when (as here) they assert injury to their institutional power as legislators. See, e.g., Kennedy v. Sampson, 511 F. 2d 430, 435-436 (CADC 1974); Moore v. United States House of Representatives, 733 F. 2d 946, 951 (CADC 1984); id., at 956 (Scalia, J., concurring in result); Barnes v. Kline, 759 F. 2d 21, 28-29 (CADC 1985); id., at 41 (Bork, J., dissenting). But see Holtzman v. Schlesinger, 484 F. 2d 1307, 1315 (CA2 1973) (Member of Congress has no standing to challenge constitutionality of American military operations in Vietnam war); Harrington v. Schlesinger, 528 F. 2d 455, 459 (CA4 1975) (same).

5 Chief Justice Hughes wrote an opinion styled "the opinion of the Court." Coleman, 307 U. S., at 435. Four Justices concurred in the judgment, partially on the ground that the legislators lacked standing. See id., at 456-457 (opinion of Black, J., joined by Roberts, Frankfurter, and Douglas, JJ.); id., at 460 (opinion of Frankfurter, J., joined by Roberts, Black, and Douglas, JJ.). Two justices dissented on the merits. See id., at 470 (opinion of Butler, J., joined by McReynolds, J.). Thus, even though there were only two Justices who joined Chief Justice Hughes's opinion on the merits, it is apparent that the two dissenting Justices joined his opinion as to the standing discussion. Otherwise, Justice Frankfurter's opinion denying standing would have been the controlling opinion.

6 See also Bender v. Williamsport Area School Dist., 475 U.S. 534, 544-545, n. 7 (1986) (in dicta, suggesting hypothetically that if state law authorized a school board to take action only by unanimous consent, if a school board member voted against a particular action, and if the board nonetheless took the action, the board member "might claim that he was legally entitled to protect `the effectiveness of [his] vot[e],' Coleman[, 307 U. S., at 438,] . . . [b]ut in that event [he] would have to allege that his vote was diluted or rendered nugatory under state law").

7 Just as appellees cannot show that their vote was denied or nullified as in Coleman (in the sense that a bill they voted for would have become law if their vote had not been stripped of its validity), so are they unable to show that their vote was denied or nullified in a discriminatory manner (in the sense that their vote was denied its full validity in relation to the votes of their colleagues). Thus, the various hypotheticals offered by appellees in their briefs and discussed during oral argument have no applicability to this case. See Reply Brief for Appellees 6 (positing hypothetical law in which "first term Members were not allowed to vote on appropriations bills," or in which "every Member was disqualified on grounds of partiality from voting on major federal projects in his or her own district"); Tr. of Oral Arg. 17 ("QUESTION: But [Congress] might have passed a statute that said the Senators from Iowa on hog farming matters should have only half a vote. Would they have standing to challenge that?").

8 Since we hold that Coleman may be distinguished from the instant case on this ground, we need not decide whether Coleman may also be distinguished in other ways. For instance, appellants have argued that Coleman has no applicability to a similar suit brought in federal court, since that decision depended on the fact that the Kansas Supreme Court "treated" the senators' interest in their votes "as a basis for entertaining and deciding the federal questions." 307 U. S., at 446. They have also argued that Coleman has no applicability to a similar suit brought by federal legislators, since the separation of powers concerns present in such a suit were not present in Coleman, and since any federalism concerns were eliminated by the Kansas Supreme Court's decision to take jurisdiction over the case.

9 Although Congress could reinstate Project X through a "disapproval bill," it would assumedly take two thirds of both Houses to do so, since the President could be expected to veto the Project X "disapproval bill." But see Robinson, Public Choice Speculations on the Item Veto, 74 Va. L. Rev. 403, 411-412 (1988) (political costs that President would suffer in important congressional districts might limit use of line item veto).

10 Cf. Bender, 475 U. S., at 544 ("Generally speaking, members of collegial bodies do not have standing to perfect an appeal the body itself has declined to take"); United States v. Ballin, 144 U.S. 1, 7 (1892) ("The two houses of Congress are legislative bodies representing larger constituencies. Power is not vested in any one individual, but in the aggregate of the members who compose the body, and its action is not the action of any separate member or number of members, but the action of the body as a whole").

11 In addition, it is far from clear that this injury is "fairly traceable" to appellants, as our precedents require, since the alleged cause of appellees's injury is not appellants' exercise of legislative power but the actions of their own colleagues in Congress in passing the Act. Cf. Holtzman v. Schlesinger, 484 F. 2d 1307, 1315 (CA2 1973) ("Representative Holtzman . . . has not been denied any right to vote on [the war in Cambodia] by any action of the defendants [Executive Branch officials]. . . . The fact that her vote was ineffective was due to the contrary votes of her colleagues and not the defendants herein").