United States District Court, District of Columbia
BERMAN JACKSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Harold William Van Allen has filed a pro se
complaint against 19 named defendants that include Special
Counsel Robert Mueller, President Donald Trump, Vice
President Mike Pence, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the
Chief Justice of the United States and several judges from
the U.S. District Court and U.S. Court of Appeals for the
D.C. Circuit. Compl. [Dkt. # 1]. The complaint consists of a
Regarding executive authority over all federal and state
chief judiciary proposed “Trump-Pence Executive
Order(s)” ordering SCOTUS Chief Judge John Roberts to
cease avoiding and immediately define U.S. constitution
language “natural born citizen” CINC/POTUS
eligibility of all living former presidents (JE Carter, GHW
Bush, GW Bush, WJ Clinton, BH Obama, DJ Trump and all living
so confirmed federal judicial nominees regarding their past
and current judicial authority (quo warranto) NYS statewide
federal and New York State elections 1992 (H Ross Perot),
1997 (Robert L Schulz), 1996 (H Ross Perot electoral college
delegate), 1997 (Constitutional Convention Question), 1998,
2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, and now
2017 (Constitutional Convention Question) - New York based
Hillary R. and William J. Clintons' espionage -
unauthorized transfer and storage of electronic classified
documents on private non-secure non-government
Compl. ¶ 1. Based on this paragraph, it is unclear what
relief plaintiff seeks from this Court, and whether this
Court has the authority to hear the case.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. They possess only
that power authorized by Constitution and statute, which is
not to be expanded by judicial decree. It is to be presumed
that a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction, and the
burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the party
asserting jurisdiction.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life
Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994) (internal
citations omitted). Furthermore, “‘[i]t is
axiomatic that subject matter jurisdiction may not be waived,
and that courts may raise the issue sua
sponte.'” NetworkIP, L.L.C. v. FCC,
548 F.3d 116, 120 (D.C. Cir. 2008), quoting Athens Cmty.
Hosp., Inc. v. Schweiker, 686 F.2d 989, 992 (D.C. Cir.
1982). Indeed, a federal court must raise the issue because
it is “forbidden - as a court of limited jurisdiction -
from acting beyond [its] authority, and ‘no action of
the parties can confer subject-matter jurisdiction upon a
federal court.'” Id., quoting Akinseye
v. District of Columbia, 339 F.3d 970, 971 (D.C. Cir.
2003). A district court may dismiss a complaint sua
sponte pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(h)(3), when it is evident that the court lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction. See Evans v. Suter, No.
09-5242, 2010 WL 1632902 (D.C. Cir. Apr. 2, 2010), citing
Hurt v. U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Cir., 264
F. App'x 1 (D.C. Cir. 2008).
matter jurisdiction is lacking where a complaint “is
patently insubstantial presenting no federal question
suitable for decision.” Tooley v. Napolitano,
586 F.3d 1006, 1009 (D.C. Cir. 2009), quoting Best v.
Kelly, 39 F.3d 328, 330 (D.C. Cir. 1994). A claim is
“patently insubstantial” when it is
“flimsier than doubtful or questionable . . .
essentially fictitious.” Best, 39 F.3d at 330
(internal quotation marks omitted); see Hagans v.
Lavine, 415 U.S. 528, 536-37 (1974) (“[F]ederal
courts are without power to entertain claims otherwise within
their jurisdiction if they are so attenuated and
unsubstantial as to be absolutely devoid of merit, wholly
insubstantial, [or] obviously frivolous . . . .")
(internal citations and quotation marks omitted); see,
e.g., Peters v. Obama, Misc. No. 10-0298, 2010 WL
2541066 (D.D.C. June 21, 2010) (sua sponte
dismissing complaint alleging that President Obama had been
served with and failed to respond to an "Imperial Writ
of Habeas Corpus" by the "Imperial Dominion of
Amexem, " requiring the plaintiffs immediate release
from a correctional institution).
the Court is mindful that complaints filed by pro se
litigants are held to less stringent standards than those
applied to formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, see
Haines v. Kerner,404 U.S. 519 (1972); Brown v.
District of Columbia,514 F.3d 1279, 1283 (D.C. Cir.
2008), it finds that plaintiffs allegations in the present
case present "no federal question suitable for
decision." Best, 39 F.3d at 330. It is true
that on the cover sheet filed with the complaint, plaintiff
identifies 42 U.S.C. § 1983 as the basis for his cause
of action. Dkt. # 1-1. But since that statute authorizes the
filing of constitutional claims against state, and not
federal, officials, Wyatt v. Cole,504 U.S. 158, 161
(1992), it cannot provide the predicate for subject matter
jurisdiction in ...