Resource: Tennessee lawmakers did not have standing to sue U.S. State Department over Medicaid funding for refugees

By: Brochin, Jeffrey H., J.D.

July 25, 2019

Tennessee General Assembly could not show "institutional injury," a requisite element to give it standing to sue, and it was not the authorized agent to sue on behalf of the state—which did suffer an institutional injury.

The Federal Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has affirmed the decision of the federal district court which dismissed a 2017 lawsuit brought by the Tennessee General Assembly and two of its elected officials against the U.S. Department of State over funding of Medicaid for the state’s 13,000 refugees. The appellate court affirmed that the General Assembly lacked Article III standing to sue on behalf of the state, and the two individual legislators who joined in the lawsuit did not have a personal stake in the outcome, or suffer an individual injury so as to confer standing (State of Tennessee v. U.S. Department of State, July 24, 2019, Boggs, D.).