Craig v. Boren Case Brief

Summary of Craig v. Boren
S. Ct. (1976)

Relevant Facts: Appellant Craig and Whitener brought an action to have an injunction issued against Oklahoma’s enforcement of the 3.2% beer law. That law prohibits the sale of 3.2% beer to males under age 21 and females under 18. Appellants allege this law is unconstitutional by way of invidious discrimination.

Legal Issue(s): Whether each of the Appellants has standing to sue

Court’s Holding: Whitener has standing, Craig does not.

Law or Rule(s): Article III U.S. Constitution, the asserted injury was the consequence of the defendant’s actions, or that prospective relief will remove the injury. Case or controversy requirement. Jus tertii is a rule of self restraint by the court. Minimizes unwarranted intervention into controversies where the applicable constitutional questions are ill defined or speculative.

Procedure: District Ct. sustained the constitutionality and dismissed action. S. Ct. Reversed.

Court Rationale: Craig attained the age of 21 after this court noted jurisdiction. Whitener evidenced that appellees caused an injury in fact sufficient to guarantee concrete adverseness. She is either obliged to heed the discrimination, and suffer economically, or disobey the statutory command and suffer, sanctions and loss of liberty.

Plaintiff’s Argument: The state statute places discriminatory action mandatorily upon vendors, and therefor vendors have standing to sue.

Defendant’s Argument: Appellees do not have standing absent a showing of an injury in fact. A litigant may only assert his/her own constitutional rights.

jus terrii: Right of third party.

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