If a government charges taxes or fees for a service, that a citizen believe it is not allowed to charge, and the citizen protests but pays the fee pending judicial review in order to mitigate damages, does the fact that the citizen paid that fee waive his/her rights to contest the issue and cause the question to become moot?

Citations, please.

1 Answer 1


Edith Windsor paid $363053 in taxes that she thought she did not owe. She later challenged the constitutionality of the law that prevented its refund. United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. ___ (2013)

Abigail Fisher paid a $100 application fee to the University of Texas. She sued to get it back, challenging the constitutionality of the university's race-sensitive admissions process. Fisher v. University of Texas, 570 U.S. ___ (2013)

In Federal courts, a case can only become moot if "in no event will the status of [the plaintiff] now be affected by any view this Court might express on the merits of this controversy." DeFunis v. Odegaard 416 U.S. 312 (1974) That isn't a sufficient condition, but it's a necessary condition. In the case of a fee that has been paid, the court can always order the fee refunded if the law didn't (or can't) actually require that it be paid.


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