Test Case

Test Case in the United States

A legal action begun to challenge the constitutionality of a government action. A test case is undertaken to obtain a judicial ruling on the challenged action. Since courts will not consider hypothetical or abstract issues, test cases require a plaintiff who has been directly injured by the action. Often this requires that a person deliberately violate a suspect law or regulation in order to establish an adversarial situation appropriate for judicial consideration.

See Also

Challenge (Civil Process) Interest Groups (Civil Process) Standing (Civil Process) Taxpayer Suit (Civil Process).

Analysis and Relevance

A test case is undertaken to establish a particular right or principle of law. Through the device of the test case, many issues of social policy are placed before the courts for their examination. Legal challenges to a wide range of discriminatory practices, for example, have been brought to the courts in test cases. The test case is a particularly effective strategic device for interest groups. While the groups themselves may not be able to meet standing requirements, groups are usually able to locate individuals who can. These individuals are usually group members. The groups can then assume management of the case, including underwriting the costs.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Test Case from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Test Case in the United States

Test Case

United States Constitution

According to the Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, about its article titled TEST CASEWhenever a unit of government, or an interest in the private sector, wants a favorable constitutional decision on a point in question, a test case is often organized to gain a ruling from the Supreme Court. The Court has not defined the term, and need not, as there is no judicial criterion
(read more about Constitutional law entries here).

Some Constitutional Law Popular Entries


See Also

  • Legal Topics.
  • Case Law; Stare Decisis.

    Further Reading (Articles)

    Tests make house calls, Chicago Sun-Times; March 8, 1998; BOB KURSON

    Test Research versus Diagnostic Research, Clinical Chemistry; March 1, 2004; Moons, Karel G M Biesheuvel, Cornee J Grobbee, Diederick E

    “Test Device and Test System of Semiconductor Device and Test Method for Testing Semiconductor Device” in Patent Application Approval Process, Electronics Newsweekly; December 4, 2013

    Standardized tests’ intent seems lost in shuffle; An apparent loophole lets Minnesota school districts give alternate tests to students who fail the basic-skills exams.(NEWS), Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN); February 5, 1998; Draper, Norman

    Tests for detecting overdispersion in Poisson regression models., Journal of the American Statistical Association; June 1, 1989; Lawless, J.F.

    t-Tests.(Research Roundtable), MedSurg Nursing; November 1, 2011; Connelly, Lynne M.

    TESTS GET BAD REPORT CARD, The Record (Bergen County, NJ); April 20, 1993; CAROLINE HENDRIE, Staff Writer

    “Method and System for Test Suite Control” in Patent Application Approval Process, Computer Weekly News; February 7, 2013

    Multisite test cuts time and costs.(testing equipment), Test & Measurement World; June 1, 2001; Zizzo Jr., Tony

    “Test Apparatus” in Patent Application Approval Process, China Weekly News; September 11, 2012

    Tests for Parameter Instability in Regressions with I(1) Processes, Journal of Business & Economic Statistics; January 1, 2002; Hansen, Bruce E.

    Test anxiety., Knight Ridder/Tribune; April 8, 2004

    ‘Tests have error,’ test author warns, Catalyst; March 31, 1999; Duffrin, Elizabeth

    Test review, Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin; July 1, 2001; McGrew, R W Mather, K S

    “Modulated Test Messaging from Dedicated Test Circuitry to Power Terminal” in Patent Application Approval Process, Computer Weekly News; December 5, 2013

    Tests of autocorrelation and randomness in multiple time series., Journal of the American Statistical Association; June 1, 1989; Ali, Mukhtar M.

    Syphilis Tests, Gale Encyclopedia of Nursing and Allied Health; January 1, 2006

    Test pattern compression saves time and bits: test compression sounds like magic. Read on to learn how this trick is done.(DESIGN FOR TEST), EE-Evaluation Engineering; July 1, 2005; Lecklider, Tom

    Test-system development: do everything first; A panel of test engineers advises you to plan all aspects of a system up front.(INSTRUMENTS), Test & Measurement World; February 1, 2005; Rowe, Martin

    Tests for CJD will put doctors in moral minefield HEALTH: DIAGNOSIS DILEMMA HEALTH: DIAGNOSIS DILEMMA Ahead of international conference, expert raises concerns over ethical dilemmas surrounding detection of incurable disease… and questions tests’ practicality, The Sunday Herald; March 19, 2006; Judith Duffy Health Correspondent

    Test Case: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

    Federal Primary Materials

    The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Test Case. This part provides references, in relation to Test Case, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

    Federal primary materials about Test Case by content types:

    Laws and Regulations

    US Constitution
    Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

    Federal Case Law and Court Materials

    U.S. Courts of Appeals
    United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

    Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

    Presidential Materials

    Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

    Executive Materials

    Federal Legislative History Materials

    Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Test Case and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Test Case or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

    State Administrative Materials and Resources

    State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Test Case and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Test Case. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Test Case should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

    State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

    State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Test Case when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

    Tools and Forms

    Law in Other Regions

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