ASARCO Inc. v. Kadish

In ASARCO Inc. v. Kadish, 490 U. S. 605 (1989), the petitioners (defendants below in the state-court action) sought review in this Court of the Arizona Supreme Court's invalidation of a state statute governing mineral leases on state lands. (490 U. S., at 610.) The Supreme Court dismissed the suggestion of the United States that the petitioners should have pursued their claim as a new action in federal district court. Such an action, the Supreme Court said, "in essence, would be an attempt to obtain direct review of the Arizona Supreme Court's decision in the lower federal courts" in contravention of 28 U. S. C. 1257. (490 U. S., at 622-623.) In ASARCO, Inc. v. Kadish, 490 U.S. 605, 109 S.Ct. 2037, 104 L.Ed.2d 696 (1989), numerous individual state taxpayers and the Arizona Education Association, representing approximately 20,000 public school teachers in the State of Arizona, brought a suit in Arizona state court seeking a declaration that a state statute governing mineral leases on state land was void. The plaintiffs challenged the state statute on grounds that it did not comply with the methods Congress required the State to follow before leasing or selling the lands granted by the United States in the New Mexico-Arizona Enabling Act of 1910, 36 Stat. 557. Because the state court interpreted federal law, the Court addressed whether the plaintiffs would have had standing had the action originally been brought in federal court. The Court noted that the general bar on federal taxpayer suits announced in Frothingham does not necessarily apply to municipal taxpayers "if it has been shown that the 'peculiar relation of the corporate taxpayer to the municipal corporation' makes the taxpayer's interest in the application of municipal revenues 'direct and immediate.' " ASARCO, 109 S.Ct. at 2043. The Court then noted that "we have likened state taxpayers to federal taxpayers, and thus we have refused to confer standing upon a state taxpayer absent a showing of 'direct injury,' pecuniary or otherwise." Id. The Court concluded that the state taxpayers were not entitled to standing because "the possibility that taxpayers will receive any direct pecuniary relief from this lawsuit is 'remote, fluctuating and uncertain,' as stated in Frothingham, supra, and consequently the claimed injury is not 'likely to be redressed by a favorable decision.' " Id.