Justiciability

The Supreme Court explained in Baker v. Carr (1962) six features that make a legal question too "political" for courts to get involved. A legal question containing any of the following elements is "nonjusticiable":

  • a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department;
  • a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it;
  • the impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for nonjudicial discretion;
  • the impossibility of a court's undertaking independent resolution without expressing lack of the respect due coordinate branches of government;
  • an unusual need for unquestioning adherence to a political decision already made;
  • the potentiality of embarrassment from multifarious pronouncements by various departments on one question. 

(page 217 of the opinion).