Collusive Suit

Author:Jonathan D. Varat

Page 443

Article III of the Constitution limits the federal courts to the decision of CASES OR CONTROVERSIES. One component of that limitation bars adjudication of the merits of a claim absent a real dispute between parties who have conflicting interests. If nominally opposing parties manufacture a lawsuit to secure a judicial ruling, if one party controls or finances both sides of a case, or if both parties in fact desire the same ruling, the suit will be dismissed as collusive. The issues in a case need not be contested, so long as the parties' ultimate interests in the litigation are opposed. Hence, a default judgment can be entered, or a guilty plea accepted. Nor are all TEST CASES forbidden as collusive?only those where the contestants seek the same outcome. Of course, other JUSTICIABILITY barriers may prevent adjudication.

Like the ban on ADVISORY OPINIONS, the rule banning collusive suits saves judicial resources for disputes that need resolution, helps...

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