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Civil Resource Manual

213. Declaratory Actions

Title 28 U.S.C. § 2201, allowing the issuance of declaratory judgments in cases with the courts' jurisdiction, is procedural and restricted to "cases" and "controversies" in the constitutional sense. See Longshoremen's Union v. Boyd, 347 U.S. 222 (1954); Miller v. Udall, 368 F.2d 548 (10th Cir. 1966). It is not available for the resolution of hypothetical, academic, or theoretical problems. See Wirtz v. Fowler, 372 F.2d 315 (5th Cir. 1966). The federal courts do not render advisory opinions. Golden v. Zwickler, 394 U.S. 103 (1969). However, assuming the requisite case or controversy is present, the United States, suing under 28 U.S.C. § 1345, can invoke the Declaratory Judgment Act to obtain a declaration of rights or other legal relationships. See, e.g., Wyandotte Transportation Co. v. United States, 389 U.S. 191, 201, 204 (1967); State of Wyoming v. United States, 310 F.2d 566 (10th Cir. 1962), cert. denied, 372 U.S. 953 (1963); Universal Fiberglass Corp. v. United States, 400 F.2d 926 (8th Cir. 1968).