The question therefore becomes whether a quantifiable amount-in-controversy, of sufficient value to satisfy the statutory minimum, exists here. The parties agree, and it is well settled that in determining the amount-in-controversy, reference to either party's situation is appropriate. Where the case is worth at least $10,000 to the defendant, the requirement is satisfied just as fully as where a plaintiff can demonstrate the $10,000 value or sum.
Computations measure the "value of the object" of the suit, Mississippi & Missouri R.R. Co. v. Ward, 67 U.S. 485, 2 Black (67 U.S.) 485, 17 L. Ed. 311 (1862), that is the monetary value of objects at issue or direct monetary impact of an adjudication. The object here could be described as either the tapes and documents themselves or as access to the information contained therein. Since intrinsically, the tape recordings and documents do not approach a $10,000 value, we look instead to the value of a disposition either granting or denying the declaratory judgment and other relief sought.
Plaintiffs suggest several possible analyses by which existence of the required minimum value may be established. It appears to the Court, however, that none of these proposals suffice. First, in an affidavit of the Select Committee Chairman appended to their Supplemental Memorandum, plaintiffs calculate the expenses they will incur if compelled to secure from other sources the information contained in the subpoenaed materials. Though the Court does not dispute this assessment, it nevertheless cannot accept such indirect costs as the amount-in-controversy. Alternative means of achieving the object of a suit or collateral results of a judgment are not properly considered in computing the jurisdictional minimum under § 1331.
The cost of added Committee work to ferret out the desired information is quite clearly the cost of an alternative procedure. Nor is the Select Committee's appropriation a valid measure. The decision in Williams v. Phillips, 360 F. Supp. 1363 (D.D.C.1973), the only authority cited for this proposition, contains no such holding. Plaintiffs have not attempted to quantify the direct impact of a judicial decision, and indeed, it appears to the Court that such an appraisal is impossible from either party's viewpoint.
Second is a suggestion that the rights and responsibilities of legislators exceed the $10,000 minimum. The restriction to a dollars and cents evaluation of the matter in controversy, however, logically precludes an assumption that the value of such a right can satisfy § 1331. The value of the right or duty must be quantifiable.
There must be some financial gain or loss associated directly with sustaining, rejecting or declaring the right. The Supreme Court has only recently reminded us that in suits against federal officials under § 1331, "it is necessary to satisfy the amount-in-controversy requirement for federal jurisdiction." Lynch v. Household Finance Corp., 405 U.S. 538, 547, 92 S. Ct. 1113, 1119, 31 L. Ed. 2d 424 (1972). Any direct financial consequence to rights or duties is not apparent in this case.
Finally, regarding value from defendant's viewpoint, the Court cannot find any basis on which to assign a dollar value to the matter in controversy. Just as the constitutional obligations of legislators, defendant's interest, whatever it may be termed, is incapable of such an appraisal. Each of plaintiffs' assertions, then, regarding the amount-in-controversy are legally inadequate, and finding no possible valuation of the matter which satisfies the $10,000 minimum, the Court cannot assert jurisdiction by virtue of § 1331.
No jurisdictional statute known to the Court, including the four which plaintiffs name, warrants an assumption of jurisdiction, and the Court is therefore left with no alternative here but to dismiss the action.
Because of its conclusion and disposition, the Court does not reach the problem of justiciability or the merits of the case. Any comment on these matters therefore is inappropriate, and the Court does not proffer its views.
The Court has here been requested to invoke a jurisdiction which only Congress can grant but which Congress has heretofore withheld. Whether such jurisdiction ought to be conferred is the prerogative of the Congress. Plaintiffs, of course, are free to pursue whatever remedy they now deem appropriate, but the Court cannot, consistent with law and the constitutional principles that reserve to Congress the conferral of jurisdiction, validate the present course.
This matter having come before the Court on plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment, and the Court having considered the memoranda and arguments of counsel, and the Court having concluded for the reasons stated in the attached opinion that it lacks jurisdiction over this matter, it is by the Court this 17th day of October, 1973,
Ordered that this action be, and the same hereby is, dismissed with prejudice.