This post was originally published on Forbes Oct 2, 2015
Presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul and other opponents of enforcement of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) suffered a setback this week in United States District Court as Judge Thomas Rose refused to grant preliminary injunctive relief on a number of claims in Crawford et al v United States.
First, plaintiffs must have suffered an injury in fact—an invasion of a legally protected interest which is (a) concrete and particularized and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical. Second, there must be a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of—the injury has to be fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant, and not the result of the independent action of some third party not before the court. Third, it must be likely, as opposed to merely speculative, that the injury will be redressed by favorable decision.
They lack standing, as the harms they allege are remote and speculative harms, most of which would be caused by third parties, illusory, or self-inflicted. Plaintiffs' allegations also fail as a matter of law, as there is no constitutionally recognized right to privacy of bank records.
In sum, Paul has alleged no injury to himself as an individual, the institutional injury he alleges is wholly abstract and widely dispersed, and his attempt to litigate this dispute at this time and in this form is contrary to historical experience.
The case is not particularly noteworthy from a legal perspective. It just denied a preliminary injunction. The likelihood of getting any ultimate relief in the case, preliminary or otherwise, is minimal. (The pursuit of the case is more a way to make a statement and perhaps encourage those who can be encouraged by such futile statements to make contributions
Rand Paul's appearance in this futile case is just another instance of congressmen posturing for their base rather than really trying to solve problems.