Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2013

Publication Title

Georgia Law Review


Agencies of the United States often find themselves on opposite sides of the "v." in disputes ranging from alleged unfair labor practices in federal agencies to competing statutory interpretations to run-of-the mill squabbles over money. Yet Article III's case-or-controversy requirement includes—at a minimum—adverse parties and standing. Courts have disagreed with one another over the extent to which litigation between the sovereign and itself meets Article III standards. Despite the volume of scholarship on Article III standing, relatively little attention has been paid to Article III's requirement of adverse parties in general, or the justiciability of intrabranch litigation in particular. Looking at both historical practice and modern Article III case law and scholarship, this Article finds meaningful jurisdictional limits on interagency litigation. When the only litigants in a case assert the sovereign prerogatives of the United States, there is no case or controversy within the meaning of Article III. This conclusion is supported by 200 years of case law and follows from what it means when the "United States" invokes its courts.