Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Linda R.S. v. Richard D. case summary

Linda R.S. v. Richard D. case summary
410 U.S. 614 (1973)
Constitutional Law 

PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Appellant mother challenged the decision of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, which dismissed her action to enjoin the allegedly discriminatory application of Tex. Penal Code Ann. art. 602, for want of standing.

-Mother alleged that a certain individual was the father of her illegitimate child, that he refused to pay support, and that the district attorney refused to enforce art. 602 against him because illegitimate children were outside of the statute's scope.
-Mother argued that such an interpretation of the statute discriminated between legitimate and illegitimate children without rational foundation and therefore violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
-The Court affirmed the dismissal and held that mother failed to allege a sufficient nexus between her injury and the government action she attacked to justify judicial intervention.
-The Court determined that mother made no showing that her failure to secure support payments resulted from the nonenforcement of art. 602.

-The Court concluded that mother made an insufficient showing of a direct connection between the vindication in her interest in her child and the enforcement of state criminal law.


-A plaintiff must show that the facts alleged present the court with a case or controversy in the constitutional sense and that she is a proper plaintiff to raise the issues sought to be litigated. The threshold question which must be answered is whether the plaintiff has alleged such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which a court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions. 

Dismissal of action for lack of standing was affirmed.

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