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Constitutional Law

The Political-Question Doctrine

The Political-Question Doctrine

Learn about how the Supreme Court has identified a series of cases that federal courts cannot resolve—whether because their resolution has been textually committed to another branch of the government or because they lack judicially manageable standards by which they could be resolved.


I. Baker v. Carr

The political-question doctrine has its origins in the Supreme Court’s decision in Marbury versus Madison, in which Chief Justice Marshall distinguished between the kinds of disputes that are appropriate for courts to resolve and the kinds of disputes that are committed to the discretion of other governmental actors. In general, the doctrine considers an array of circumstances that implicate whether a particular suit involves the courts in what is properly understood as an...