CITY OF SOUTH LAKE TAHOE v. CALIFORNIA TAHOE REGIONAL PLANNING
Annotate this Case
449 U.S. 1039 (1980)
U.S. Supreme Court
CITY OF SOUTH LAKE TAHOE v. CALIFORNIA TAHOE REGIONAL PLANNING , 449 U.S. 1039 (1980)
449 U.S. 1039
CITY OF SOUTH LAKE TAHOE et al. v. CALIFORNIA TAHOE REGIONAL PLANNING AGENCY et al
Supreme Court of the United States
December 8, 1980
On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.
Justice WHITE, with whom Justice MARSHALL joins, dissenting.
In Board of Education v. Allen, 392 U.S. 236d 1060 (1968), this Court held that members of a local school board had standing to challenge in federal court the constitutionality of a state statute that required them to lend books to parochial school students. Addressing the constitutional requirement that the parties have a " personal stake in the outcome" of the litigation, the Court found such a " stake" in the dilemma that the appellants confronted: a choice between violating their oaths of office to support the United States Constitution or refusing to comply with the statutory requirements, a step which was " likely to bring their expulsion from office and also a reduction in state funds for their school districts." Id., at 241, n. 5, n. 5. The Court of Appeals in the present case stated that
"[w]ere Allen the last word from the Supreme Court on standing, we could simply adopt [its] rationale . . . and determine that the councilmembers in the case before us have standing on the basis that they believe that enforcing the . . . ordinances would violate their oaths of office." 625 F.2d 231, 236 (1980).
The court declined to follow Allen, however, holding instead that our subsequent cases have effectively overruled Allen. I do not believe that we have sub silentio overruled Allen. The Courts of Appeals, however, are in conflict over its continuing validity. Compare Regents of the Univ. of Minn. v. NCAA, 560 F.2d 352, 363-364 (CA8 1977), and Aguayo v. Richardson, 473 F.2d 1090, 1100 (CA2 1973), with Finch v. Mississippi State Medical Assn., Inc., 585 F.2d 765 (CA5 1978). If the Allen doctrine is to be reconsidered, it should be done by this Court, and not by the various Courts of Appeals. I therefore dissent from the denial of certiorari.
The California Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (CTRPA) is a political subdivision of the State of California, exercising responsibility for the development and enforcement of plans for land and resource development in the Lake Tahoe region of California. Cal.Gov't Code Ann. 67040 et seq. ( West Supp.1980). The city of South Lake Tahoe lies within the geographic area regulated by the CTRPA. Petitioners, the city, its Mayor and four council members, are required by law to enforce CTRPA regulations, Cal. Gov't Code Ann. 67072, 67102 (West Supp.1980). A willful failure of a state official to perform his duty is a misdemeanor, Cal.Gov't Code Ann. 1222 (West 1980), which may result in removal from office. Cal.Penal Code Ann. 661 (West 1970).
In August 1975, the CTRPA enacted the plan of land-use and transportation regulations that is the subject of this lawsuit. Petitioners, believing that enforcement of these regulations would be unconstitutional on a number of grounds,1 brought suit in Federal District Court seeking injunctive and declaratory relief. The District Court dismissed the action, believing that federal court abstention was appropriate. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that petitioners did not have standing to invoke the jurisdiction of the federal courts.
The Court of Appeals relied primarily on Schlesinger v. Reservists to Stop the War, 418 U.S. 208 (1974), and United States v. Richardson, 418 U.S. 166 ( 1974), to support its conclusion that petitioners could no longer claim standing under [449 U.S. 1039 , 1041]