Patchak v. Zinke, Separation of Powers, and the Pitfalls of Form over Substance


Mr. Patchak was a concerned citizen with standing to bring a suit against the federal government. A previous Supreme Court decision, Carcieri v. Salazar, made it clear that Mr. Patchak would win his case. Congress, however, did not want him to do so. Congress passed, and President Obama signed, the Gun Lake Act, which effectively ordered Mr. Patchak’s suit to be dismissed. Mr. Patchak’s suit was subsequently dismissed, and he appealed on the grounds that the Gun Lake Act violated separation of powers principles

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