MBE Question of the Day – Answer

B) is the correct answer.
Issue: Who has standing to contest the constitutionality of a ban on speech?
Rule: Standing requires that the plaintiff have a significant stake in the outcome of the case. If the plaintiff lacks standing, the court will not hear the case. In order to show standing, the plaintiff must show that she suffered an injury in fact that was caused by the government, and that there is a substantial likelihood that the relief sought will either prevent or redress the injury.
Analysis: Here, the politician is the only one who has standing to bring suit. The politician is the only person of those listed who is actually injured (since he will not be able to give his speech) and his injury can be redressed if the statute is stricken as unconstitutional. The injury was caused by the government since it is due to the state statute that he cannot give his speech.
(B) is correct because as long as the statute is in place, the politician will not be able to give a campaign speech, which may be a First Amendment violation. The politician thus has standing to contest the statute.
(A) is incorrect because taxpayers do not have standing to challenge a statute just by virtue of being a taxpayer. The injury to the taxpayer is too remote to meet the injury-in-fact requirement. (An exception to the general rule that taxpayers do not have standing to challenge government expenditures is when a taxpayer challenges an expenditure under the Establishment Clause.)
(C) is incorrect because the legislator did not suffer an injury in fact. That the legislator voted against the statute does not confer any standing.

(D) is incorrect because the organization, according to the facts, suffered no “injury in fact”. A party cannot challenge a statute unless they are actually injured by it, regardless of the constitutionality of the statute itself.