Bar Exam (US) Constitutional Law: Describe the mootness doctrine. Describe the mootness doctrine.

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Describe the mootness doctrine.

Answer

Federal courts decide only actual cases and controversies, so they must refuse to hear claims that are moot. A claim becomes moot when the issues presented have already been resolved and so it is too late for the court's ruling on them to make a difference. Courts have created exceptions to the mootness rule for situations where (1) a judicial determination that has already been made will have lingering collateral consequences, (2) the defendant has voluntarily stopped doing the challenged practice, but there is a reasonable expectation that he or she may go back to doing it again later, and (3) where the issue is capable of repetition, yet evading review. The last exception applies where the issue is moot but it arise again for the same plaintiff (or members of the plaintiff class, if it is a class action) at some point in the future.

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