Barrows v. Jackson

In Barrows v. Jackson, 346 U.S. 249, 256 (1953), an equal protection case, the Court identified the ordinary rule that, "even though a party will suffer a direct substantial injury from application of a statute, he cannot challenge its constitutionality unless he can show that he is within the class whose constitutional rights are allegedly infringed." The Court justified the rule, stating: "One reason for this ruling is that the state court, when actually faced with the question, might narrowly construe the statute to obliterate the objectionable feature, or it might declare the unconstitutional provision separable. New York ex rel. Hatch v. Reardon, 204 U.S., at 160-161. . . . It would indeed be undesirable for this Court to consider every conceivable situation which might possibly arise in the application of complex and comprehensive legislation. Nor are we so ready to frustrate the expressed will of Congress or that of the state legislatures. Cf. Southern Pacific Co. v. Gallagher, 306 U.S. 167, 172." Id., at 256-257.