Walters v. Trump
ORDER granting 1 MOTION for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis filed by Chris Walters, Motions terminated: 1 MOTION for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis filed by Chris Walters., FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS re 2 Complaint IFP/Prisoner filed by Chris Walters, 8 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by Chris Walters, 7 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by Chris Walters. () Signed by Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch on 8/23/2017. (TCL)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANA
ORDER, and FINDINGS
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP,
Plaintiff Chris Walters, appearing pro se, has filed a document titled
“Amicus Curiae Brief on Constitutionality of Social Security Act, Medicaid, and
Federal Budget 2018” – a document which the Court liberally construes as a
complaint. And Walters moves for leave to proceed in forma pauperis under 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a).
A court can grant an individual leave to proceed in forma pauperis if the
individual sufficiently establishes via affidavit that he cannot pay court costs
without hindering his ability to provide the necessities of life for himself. Adkins
v. E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., 335 U.S. 331, 339 (1948). Because Walters
has made the requisite showing, his motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis
is properly granted. IT IS SO ORDERED.
At this juncture, the Court is obligated to examine Walters’ complaint to
determine whether the Court possesses jurisdiction over the subject matter of the
claims advanced by Walters’ complaint. See Collins v. U.S. Citizenship and
Immigration Services, 820 F.3d 1096, 1099 (9th Cir. 2016) (recognizing the court
has an independent obligation to determine whether subject matter jurisdiction
For the reasons discussed below, it is recommended that this action be
dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Invoking federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, Walters
asserts two purported federal claims, naming as defendant President Donald
Trump. (Doc. 2.)
In support of his first claim, Walters asserts the “Federal Budget for 2018”
as apparently proposed by the President calls for “cuts in Social Security
Disability, Medicaid [and] Medicare.” (Doc. 2 at 1-2.)1 From this anticipatory
concern, Walters asks the Court to consider whether any proposed reduction in
Because Walters is proceeding pro se his pleadings are construed liberally,
being held “to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers[.]”
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). See also Neitzke v. Williams, 490
U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989).
benefits already awarded under these programs to individuals through
administrative or judicial proceedings would violate the separation of powers
embodied in Article I-III of the United States Constitution. (Doc. 2 at 2.)
Although not expressly asserted in his complaint, it is assumed for purposes of
analysis that Walters is currently receiving benefits under at least one of the
As to his second claim for relief, Walters implicitly asks the Court to
declare that the authority to administer the three referenced programs be placed in
the hands of a “special master” to assure that the benefits currently being enjoyed
by beneficiaries under the programs will not be diminished by anticipatory budget
cuts. (Doc. 2 at 2.)
The threshold question to be answered is whether Walters’ complaint
presents a case or controversy as required to establish jurisdiction under Article III
of the United States Constitution. The case or controversy requirement is
designed to “limit the business of federal courts to questions presented in an
adversary context and in a form historically viewed as capable of resolution
through the judicial process.” Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83, 95 (1968).
“Justiciability is the term of art employed to give expression to this dual limitation
placed upon federal courts by the case-and-controversy doctrine.” Id. No
justiciable controversy exists when the particular case at hand is simply asking for
an advisory opinion. Id. (citations omitted). “For adjudication of constitutional
issues ‘concrete legal issues, presented in actual cases, not abstractions’ are
requisite.” Golden v. Zwickler, 394 U.S. 103, 108 (1969) (quoting United Public
Workers of American (C.I.O.) v. Mitchell, 330 U.S. 75, 89 (1947)). Ultimately, the
question to be asked in a particular case “is whether the facts alleged, under all the
circumstances, show that there is a substantial controversy, between parties having
adverse legal interests, of sufficient immediacy an[d] reality to warrant the
issuance of a declaratory judgment.” Id. at 959-60 (quoting Maryland Casualty
Co. v. Pacific Coal & Oil Co., 312 U.S. 270, 273 (1941)).
For obvious reasons, Walters’ claims fail to present a justiciable
controversy. His claims are based upon potential future events which may or may
not happen, and thus lack the requisite immediacy and reality necessary to invoke
Based on the foregoing, IT IS RECOMMENDED that this action be
dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. IT IS FURTHER RECOMMENDED that
Walters’ two pending motions for summary judgment be denied as MOOT.
DATED this 23rd day of August, 2017.
Jeremiah C. Lynch
United States Magistrate Judge
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