Constitutional Standards: Injury in Fact, Causation, and Redressability.

Although the Court has been inconsistent, it has now settled upon the rule that, “at an irreducible minimum,” the constitutional requisites under Article III for the existence of standing are that the plaintiff must personally have: 1) suffered some actual or threatened injury; 2) that injury can fairly be traced to the challenged action of the defendant; and 3) that the injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable decision.418

For a time, the actual or threatened injury requirement noted above included an additional requirement that such injury be the product of “a wrong which directly results in the violation of a legal right.”419 In other words, the injury needs to be “one of property, one arising out of contract, one protected against tortuous invasion, or one founded in a statute which confers a privilege.”420 It became apparent, however, that the “legal right” language was “demonstrably circular: if the plaintiff is given standing to assert his claims, his interest is legally protected; if he is denied standing, his interest is not legally protected.”421 Despite this test, the observable tendency of the Court was to find standing in cases which were grounded in injuries far removed from property rights.422

In any event, the “legal rights” language has now been dispensed with. Rejection of this doctrine occurred in two administrative law cases in which the Court announced that parties had standing when they suffered “injury in fact” to some interest, “economic or otherwise,” that is arguably within the zone of interest to be protected or regulated by the statute or constitutional provision in question.423 Political,424 environmental, aesthetic, and social interests, when impaired, now afford a basis for making constitutional attacks upon governmental action.425 “But deprivation of a procedural right without some concrete interest that is affected by the deprivation—a procedural right in vacuo—is insufficient to create Article III standing.”426 Moreover, while Congress has the power to define injuries and articulate “chains of causation” that will give rise to a case or controversy, a plaintiff does not “automatically satisf[y] the injury-in-fact requirement whenever a statute grants a person a statutory right and purports to authorize a person to sue to vindicate that right.”427

The breadth of the “injury-in-fact” concept may be discerned in a series of cases involving the right of private parties to bring actions under the Fair Housing Act to challenge alleged discriminatory practices, even where discriminatory action was not directed against parties to a suit, Theses case held that the subjective and intangible interests of enjoying the benefits of living in integrated communities were sufficient to permit them to attack actions that threatened or harmed those interests.428 Or, there is important case of FEC v. Akins,429 which addresses the ability of Congress to confer standing and to remove prudential constraints on judicial review. Congress had afforded persons access to Commission information and had authorized “any person aggrieved” by the actions of the FEC to sue. The Court found “injury-in-fact” present where plaintiff voters alleged that the Federal Election Commission had denied them information respecting an organization that might or might not be a political action committee.430 Another area where the Court has interpreted this term liberally are injuries to the interests of individuals and associations of individuals who use the environment, affording them standing to challenge actions that threatened those environmental conditions.431

Even citizens who bring qui tam actions under the False Claims Act—actions that entitle the plaintiff (“relator”) to a percentage of any civil penalty assessed for violation—have been held to have standing, on the theory that the government has assigned a portion of its damages claim to the plaintiff, and the assignee of a claim has standing to assert the injury in fact suffered by the assignor.432 Citing this holding and historical precedent, the Court upheld the standing of an assignee who had promised to remit the proceeds of the litigation to the assignor.433 The Court noted that “federal courts routinely entertain suits which will result in relief for parties that are not themselves directly bringing suit. Trustees bring suits to benefit their trusts; guardians at litem bring suits to benefit their wards; receivers bring suit to benefit their receiverships; assignees in bankruptcy bring suit to benefit bankrupt estates; and so forth.”434

Beyond these historical anomalies, the Court has indicated that, for parties lacking an individualized injury to seek judicial relief on behalf of an absent third party, there generally must be some sort of agency relationship between the litigant and the injured party. In Hollingsworth v. Perry,435 the Court considered the question of whether the official proponents of Proposition 8,436 a state measure that amended the California Constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, had standing to defend the constitutionality of the provision on appeal. After rejecting the argument that the proponents of Proposition 8 had a particularized injury in their own right,437 the Court considered the argument that the plaintiffs were formally authorized through some sort of official act to litigate on behalf of the State of California.

Although the proponents were authorized by California law to argue in defense of the proposition,438 the Court found that this authorization, by itself, was insufficient to create standing. The Court expressed concern that, although California law authorized the proponents to argue in favor of Proposition 8, the proponents were still acting as private individuals, not as state officials439 or as agents that were controlled by the state.440 Because the proponents did not act as agents or official representatives of the State of California in defending the law, the Court held that the proponents only possessed a generalized interest in arguing in defense of Proposition 8 and, therefore, lacked standing to appeal an adverse district court decision.

Nonetheless, the Court has been wary in constitutional cases of granting standing to persons who alleged threats or harm to interests that they shared with the larger community of people at large; it is unclear whether this rule against airing “generalized grievances” through the courts441 has a constitutional or a prudential basis.442

In a number of cases, particularly where a plaintiff seeks prospective relief, such as an injunction or declaratory relief, the Supreme Court has strictly construed the nature of the injury-in-fact necessary to obtain such judicial remedy. First, the Court has been hesitant to assume jurisdiction over matters in which the plaintiff seeking relief cannot articulate a concrete harm.443 For example, in Laird v. Tatum, the Court held that plaintiffs challenging a domestic surveillance program lacked standing when their alleged injury stemmed from a “subjective chill,” as opposed to a “claim of specific present objective harm or a threat of specific future harm.”444 And in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, the Court explained that a concrete injury requires that an injury must “actually exist” or there must be a “risk of real harm,” such that a plaintiff who alleges nothing more than a bare procedural violation of a federal statute cannot satisfy the injury-in-fact requirement.445 Second, the Court has required plaintiffs seeking equitable relief to demonstrate that the risk of a future injury is of a sufficient likelihood; past injury is insufficient to create standing to seek prospective relief.446 The Court has articulated the threshold of likelihood of future injury necessary for standing in such cases in various ways,447 generally refusing to find standing where the risk of future injury is speculative.448

More recently, in Clapper v. Amnesty International USA, the Court held that, in order to demonstrate Article III standing, a plaintiff seeking injunctive relief must prove that the future injury, which is the basis for the relief sought, must be “certainly impending”; a showing of a “reasonable likelihood” of future injury is insufficient.449 Moreover, the Court in Amnesty International held that a plaintiff cannot satisfy the imminence requirement by merely “manufacturing” costs incurred in response to speculative, non-imminent injuries.450

A year after Amnesty International, the Court in Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus451 reaffirmed that preenforcement challenges to a statute can occur “under circumstances that render the threatened enforcement sufficiently imminent.”452 In Susan B. Anthony List, an organization planning to disseminate a political advertisement, which was previously the source of an administrative complaint under an Ohio law prohibiting making false statements about a candidate or a candidate’s record during a political campaign, challenged the prospective enforcement of that law. The Court, in finding that the plaintiff ’s future injury was certainly impending, relied on the history of prior enforcement of the law with respect to the advertisement, coupled with the facts that “any person” could file a complaint under the law, and any threat of enforcement of the law could burden political speech.453

Of increasing importance are causation and redressability, the second and third elements of standing, recently developed and held to be of constitutional requisite. There must be a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of; that is, the Court insists that the plaintiff show that “but for” the action, she would not have been injured. And the Court has insisted that there must be a “substantial likelihood” that the relief sought from the court if granted would remedy the harm.454 Thus, poor people who had been denied service at certain hospitals were held to lack standing to challenge IRS policy of extending tax benefits to hospitals that did not serve indigents, because they could not show that alteration of the tax policy would cause the hospitals to alter their policies and treat them.455 Or, low-income persons seeking the invalidation of a town’s restrictive zoning ordinance were held to lack standing, because they had failed to allege with sufficient particularity that the complained-of injury—inability to obtain adequate housing within their means—was fairly attributable to the ordinance instead of to other factors, so that voiding of the ordinance might not have any effect upon their ability to find affordable housing.456 Similarly, the link between fully integrated public schools and allegedly lax administration of tax policy permitting benefits to discriminatory private schools was deemed too tenuous, the harm flowing from private actors not before the courts and the speculative possibility that directing denial of benefits would result in any minority child being admitted to a school.457

But the Court did permit plaintiffs to attack the constitutionality of a law limiting the liability of private utilities in the event of nuclear accidents and providing for indemnification, on a showing that “but for” the passage of the law there was a “substantial likelihood,” based upon industry testimony and other material in the legislative history, that the nuclear power plants would not be constructed and that therefore the environmental and aesthetic harm alleged by plaintiffs would not occur; thus, a voiding of the law would likely relieve the plaintiffs of the complained of injuries.458 And in a case where a creditor challenged a bankruptcy court’s structured dismissal of a Chapter 11 case that denied the creditor the opportunity to obtain a settlement or assert a claim with “litigation value,” the Court held that a decision in the creditor’s favor was likely to redress the loss.459 Operation of these requirements makes difficult but not impossible the establishment of standing by persons indirectly injured by governmental action, that is, action taken as to third parties that is alleged to have injured the claimants as a consequence.460

In a case permitting a plaintiff contractors’ association to challenge an affirmative-action, set-aside program, the Court seemed to depart from several restrictive standing decisions in which it had held that the claims of attempted litigants were too “speculative” or too “contingent.”461 The association had sued, alleging that many of its members “regularly bid on and perform construction work” for the city and that they would have bid on the set-aside contracts but for the restrictions. The Court found the association had standing, because certain prior cases under the Equal Protection Clause established a relevant proposition. “When the government erects a barrier that makes it more difficult for members of one group to obtain a benefit than it is for members of another group, a member of the former group seeking to challenge the barrier need not allege that he would have obtained the benefit but for the barrier in order to establish standing. The ‘injury in fact’ in an equal protection case of this variety is the denial of equal treatment resulting from the imposition of the barrier, not the ultimate inability to obtain the benefit.”462 The association, therefore, established standing by alleging that its members were able and ready to bid on contracts but that a discriminatory policy prevented them from doing so on an equal basis.463

Redressability can be present in an environmental “citizen suit” even when the remedy is civil penalties payable to the government. The civil penalties, the Court explained, “carried with them a deterrent effect that made it likely, as opposed to merely speculative, that the penalties would redress [plaintiffs’] injuries by abating current violations and preventing future ones.”464

Footnotes

418
See Lujan v. Defs. of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560–61 (1992). Importantly, standing is not “dispensed in gross,” and, accordingly, a plaintiff must demonstrate standing for each claim “he seeks to press and for each form of relief that is sought.” See Davis v. FEC, 554 U.S. 724, 734 (2008). Moreover, when there are multiple parties to a lawsuit brought in federal court, “[f]or all relief sought, there must be a litigant with standing, whether that litigant joins the lawsuit as a plaintiff, a coplaintiff, or an intervenor as of right.” See Town of Chester v. Laroe Estates, Inc., 581 U.S. ___, No. 16–605, slip. op. at 6 (2017). [Back to text]
419
Alabama Power Co. v. Ickes, 302 U.S. 464, 479 (1938). Cf. Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee v. McGrath, 341 U.S. 123, 151–152 (1951) (Justice Frankfurter concurring). But see Frost v. Corporation Comm’n, 278 U.S. 515 (1929); City of Chicago v. Atchison, T. & S.F. Ry., 357 U.S. 77 (1958). [Back to text]
420
Tennessee Electric Power Co. v. TVA, 306 U.S. 118, 137–138 (1939). [Back to text]
421
C. Wright, supra at 65–66. [Back to text]
422
E.g., Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee v. McGrath, 341 U.S. 123 (1951) (indirect injury to organization and members by governmental maintenance of list of subversive organizations); NAACP v. Alabama ex rel. Patterson, 357 U.S. 449 (1958) (same); Abington School Dist. v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 224 n.9 (1963) (parents and school children challenging school prayers); McGowan v. Maryland, 366 U.S. 420, 430–431 (1961) (merchants challenging Sunday closing laws); Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 204–208 (1962) (voting rights). [Back to text]
423
Ass’n of Data Processing Service Org. v. Camp, 397 U.S. 150 (1970); Barlow v. Collins, 397 U.S. 159 (1970). The “zone of interest” test is a prudential rather than constitutional standard. The Court sometimes uses other language to characterize this test. Thus, in Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992), the Court refers to injury in fact as “an invasion of a legally protected interest,” but in context, here and in the cases cited, it is clear the reference is to any interest that the Court finds protectable under the Constitution, statutes, or regulations. [Back to text]
424
Department of Commerce v. United States House of Representatives, 525 U.S. 316 (1999). [Back to text]
425
E.g., Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 563 (1992); Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, 497 U.S. 871, 885 (1991); Duke Power Co. v. Carolina Environmental Study Group, 438 U.S. 59, 72–74 (1978); Village of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 261–263 (1977); Singleton v. Wulff, 428 U.S. 106, 112–113 (1976); Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 498–499 (1975); O’Shea v. Littleton, 414 U.S. 488, 493–494 (1974); Linda R.S. v. Richard D., 410 U.S. 614, 617–618 (1973). [Back to text]
426
Summers v. Earth Island Institute, 129 S. Ct. 1142, 1151 (2009) (environmental group that was denied the opportunity to file comments with the United States Forest Service regarding a Forest Service action denied standing for lack of concrete injury). On the other hand, where a party has successfully established a legal right, a threat to the enforcement of that legal right gives rise to a separate legal injury. Salazar v. Buono, 559 U.S. ___, No. 08–472, slip op. at 8 (2010) (plurality opinion) (“A party that obtains a judgment in its favor acquires a ‘judicially cognizable’ interest in ensuring compliance with that judgment”). [Back to text]
427
See Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 578 U.S. ___, No. 13–1339, slip op. at 9 (2016). The phrase “chains of causation” originates from Justice Kennedy’s concurrence in Lujan, in which he states that in order to properly define an injury that can be vindicated in an Article III court, “Congress must . . . identify the injury it seeks to vindicate and relate the injury to the class of persons entitled to bring suit.” 504 U.S. at 580 (Kennedy, J., concurring). [Back to text]
428
Trafficante v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 409 U.S. 205 (1972); Gladstone Realtors v. Village of Bellwood, 441 U.S. 91 (1979); Havens Realty Corp. v. Coleman, 455 U.S. 363 (1982). [Back to text]
429
524 U.S. 11 (1998). [Back to text]
430
That the injury was widely shared did not make the claimed injury a “generalized grievance,” the Court held, but rather in this case, as in others, the denial of the statutory right was found to be a concrete harm to each member of the class. [Back to text]
431
Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727, 735 (1972); United States v. SCRAP, 412 U.S. 669, 687–88 (1973); Duke Power Co. v. Carolina Environmental Study Group, 438 U.S. 59, 72–74 (1978). But the Court has refused to credit general allegations of injury untied to specific governmental actions. E.g., Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555 (1992); Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, 497 U.S. 871 (1990). SCRAP in particular is disfavored as too broad. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. at 566. Moreover, unlike the situation in taxpayer suits, there is no requirement of a nexus between the injuries claimed and the constitutional rights asserted. In Duke Power, 438 U.S. at 78–81, claimed environmental and health injuries grew out of construction and operation of nuclear power plants but were not directly related to the governmental action challenged, the limitation of liability and indemnification in cases of nuclear accident. See also Metropolitan Washington Airports Auth. v. Citizens for the Abatement of Aircraft Noise, 501 U.S. 252, 264–65 (1991); Friends of the Earth v. Laidlaw Envtl. Servs., 528 U.S. 167 (2000). [Back to text]
432
Vermont Agency of Nat. Res. v. United States ex rel. Stevens, 529 U.S. 765 (2000). The Court confirmed its conclusion by reference to the long tradition of qui tam actions, since the Constitution’s restriction of judicial power to “cases” and “controversies” has been interpreted to mean “cases and controversies of the sort traditionally amenable to, and resolved by, the judicial process.” Id. at 774. [Back to text]
433
Sprint Communications Co., L.P. v. APCC Services, Inc., 128 S. Ct. 2531 (2008) (payphone operators had assigned claims against long-distance carriers to “aggregators” to sue on their behalf). Chief Justice Roberts, in a dissent joined by Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, stated that the aggregators lacked standing because they “have nothing to gain from their lawsuit.” Id. at 2549. [Back to text]
434
128 S. Ct. at 2543. [Back to text]
435
570 U.S. ___, No. 12–144, slip op. (2013). [Back to text]
436
Under the relevant provisions of the California Elections Code , “ ‘[p]roponents of an initiative or referendum measure’ means . . . the elector or electors who submit the text of a proposed initiative or referendum to the Attorney General . . . ; or . . . the person or persons who publish a notice of intention to circulate petitions, or, where publication is not required, who file petitions with the elections official or legislative body.”C AL. ELEC. CODE § 342 (West 2003). [Back to text]
437
Hollingsworth, slip op. at 7–9. [Back to text]
438
California’s governor and state and local officials declined to defend Proposition 8 in federal district court, so the proponents were allowed to intervene. After the federal district court held the proposition unconstitutional, the government officials elected not to appeal, so the proponents did. The federal court of appeals certified a question to the California Supreme Court on whether the official proponents of the proposition had the authority to assert the state’s interest in defending the constitutionality of Proposition 8, see Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 628 F.3d 1191, 1193 (2011), which was answered in the affirmative, see Perry v. Brown, 265 P.3d 1002, 1007 (Cal. 2011). [Back to text]
439
See Hollingsworth, slip op. at 12 (citing Karcher v. May, 484 U.S. 72 (1987)). [Back to text]
440
The Court noted that an essential feature of agency is the principal’s right to control the agent’s actions. Here, the proponents “decided what arguments to make and how to make them.” Id. at 15. The Court also noted that the proponents were not elected to their position, took no oath, had no fiduciary duty to the people of California, and were not subject to removal. Id. [Back to text]
441
See “Generalized or Widespread Injuries,” supra. [Back to text]
442
Compare Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 499–500 (1975) (prudential), with Valley Forge Christian College v. Americans United, 454 U.S. 464, 485, 490 (1982) (apparently constitutional). In Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737, 751 (1984), it is again prudential. [Back to text]
443
See generally Summers v. Earth Island Inst., 555 U.S. 488, 496 (2009) (“[D]e-privation of a . . . right without some concrete interest that is affected by the deprivation . . . is insufficient to create Article III standing.”); see, e.g., Cal. Bankers Ass’n v. Shultz, 416 U.S. 21, 73 (1974) (plaintiffs alleged that Treasury regulations would require them to report currency transactions, but made no additional allegation that any of the information required by the Secretary will tend to incriminate them). [Back to text]
444
408 U.S. 1, 14–15 (1972). [Back to text]
445
See 578 U.S. ___, No. 13–1339, slip op. at 8–10 (2016). Nonetheless, the Spokeo Court cautioned that “intangible” injuries, such as violations of constitutional rights like freedom of speech or the free exercise of religion, can amount to “concrete” injuries. Id. at 8–9 (“ ‘Concrete’ is not, however, necessarily synonymous with ‘tangible.’ ”). In determining whether an intangible harm amounts to a concrete injury, the Court noted that history and the judgment of Congress can inform a court’s conclusion about whether a particular plaintiff has standing. Id. at 9. [Back to text]
446
See City of Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 110 (1983) (holding that a victim of a police chokehold seeking injunctive relief was unable to show sufficient likelihood of recurrence as to him). [Back to text]
447
See Davis v. FEC, 554 U.S. 724, 734 (2008) (“[T]he injury required for standing need not be actualized. A party facing prospective injury has standing to sue where the threatened injury is real, immediate, and direct.”). [Back to text]
448
See, e.g., Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 372 (1976) (“[I]ndividual respondents’ claim to ‘real and immediate’ injury rests not upon what the named petitioners might do to them in the future . . . but upon what one of a small, unnamed minority of policemen might do to them in the future because of that unknown policeman’s perception of departmental disciplinary procedures.”); O’Shea v. Littleton, 414 U.S. 488, 497 (1974) (no “sufficient immediacy and reality” to allegations of future injury that rest on the likelihood that plaintiffs will again be subjected to racially discriminatory enforcement and administration of criminal justice). [Back to text]
449
568 U.S. ___, No. 11–205, slip op. at 10–11 (2013). In adopting a “certainly impending” standard, the five-Justice majority observed that earlier cases had not uniformly required literal certainty. Id. at 15 n.5. Amnesty International‘s limitation on standing may be particularly notable in certain contexts, such as national security, where evidence necessary to prove a “certainly impending” injury may be unavailable to a plaintiff. [Back to text]
450
Id. at 10–11. In Amnesty International, defense attorneys, human rights organizations, and others challenged prospective, covert surveillance of the communications of certain foreign nationals abroad as authorized by the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. The Court found the plaintiffs lacked standing because they failed to show, inter alia, what the government’s targeting practices would be, what legal authority the government would use to monitor any of the plaintiffs’ overseas clients or contacts, whether any approved surveillance would be successful, and whether the plaintiffs’ own communications from within the United States would incidentally be acquired. Id. at 11–15. Moreover, the Court rejected that the plaintiffs could demonstrate an injury-in-fact as a result of costs that they had incurred to guard against a reasonable fear of future harm (such as, travel expenses to conduct in person conversations abroad in lieu of conducting less costly electronic communications that might be more susceptible to surveillance) because those costs were the result of an injury that was not certainly impending. Id. at 16–19. [Back to text]
451
573 U.S. ___, No. 13–193, slip op. (2014). [Back to text]
452
Relying on Amnesty International, the Court in Susan B. Anthony List held that an allegation of future injury may suffice if the injury is “ ‘certainly impending’ or there is a ‘substantial risk’ that the harm may occur.” Id. at 8 (quoting Amnesty Int’l, slip op. at 10, 15, n.5). Interestingly, while previous Court decisions have viewed preenforcement challenges as a question of “ripeness,” see Article III: Section 2. Judicial Power and Jurisdiction: Clause 1. Cases and Controversies; Grants of Jurisdiction: Judicial Power and Jurisdiction-Cases and Controversies: The Requirements of a Real Interest: Ripeness, infra, Susan B. Anthony List held that the doctrine of ripeness ultimately “boil[s] down to the same question” as standing and, therefore, viewed the case through the lens of Article III standing. Susan B. Anthony List, slip op. at 7 n.5. [Back to text]
453
Susan B. Anthony List, slip op. at 14–17 (internal quotation marks omitted). [Back to text]
454
See Lujan v. Defs. of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 595 (1992); see also ASARCO Inc. v. Kadish, 490 U.S. 605, 612–617 (1989) (plurality opinion); Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737, 751 (1984); see, e.g., Wittman v. Personhuballah, 578 U.S. ___, No. 14–1504, slip op. at 4–5 (2016) (dismissing a challenge to a redistricting plan by a congressman, who conceded that regardless of the result of the case he would not run in his old district, as any injury suffered could not be redressed by a favorable ruling). Although “causation” and “redressability” were initially articulated as two facets of a single requirement, the Court now views them as separate inquiries. See Sprint Commc’ns Co., L.P. v. APCC Servs., 554 U.S. 269, 286–87 (2008). To the extent there is a difference, it is that the former examines a causal connection between the allegedly unlawful conduct and the injury, whereas the latter examines the causal connection between the alleged injury and the judicial relief requested. Id. [Back to text]
455
Simon v. Eastern Kentucky Welfare Rights Org., 426 U.S. 26 (1976). See also Linda R.S. v. Richard D., 410 U.S. 614 (1973) (mother of illegitimate child lacked standing to contest prosecutorial policy of using child support laws to coerce support of legitimate children only, as it was “only speculative” that prosecution of father would result in support rather than jailing). However, in Summers v. Earth Island Inst., 129 S. Ct. 1142, 1151 (2009), the Court noted in dicta that, if a plaintiff is denied a procedural right, the fact that the right had been accorded by Congress “can loosen the strictures of the redressability prong of our standing inquiry.” Thus, standing may exist even though a court’s enforcing a procedural right accorded by Congress, such as the right to comment on a proposed federal agency action, will not guarantee the plaintiff success in persuading the agency to adopt the plaintiff ’s point of view. [Back to text]
456
Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490 (1975). In Village of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 264 (1974), however, a person who alleged he was seeking housing in the community and that he would qualify if the organizational plaintiff were not inhibited by allegedly racially discriminatory zoning laws from constructing housing for low-income persons like himself was held to have shown a “substantial probability” that voiding of the ordinance would benefit him. [Back to text]
457
Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737 (1984). But see Heckler v. Mathews, 465 U.S. 728 (1984), where persons denied equal treatment in conferral of benefits were held to have standing to challenge the treatment, although a judicial order could only have terminated benefits to the favored class. In that event, members would have secured relief in the form of equal treatment, even if they did not receive benefits. See also Arkansas Writers’ Project, Inc. v. Ragland, 481 U.S. 221 (1987); Orr v. Orr, 440 U.S. 268, 271–273 (1979). [Back to text]
458
Duke Power Co. v. Carolina Environmental Study Group, 438 U.S. 59, 72–78 1978). The likelihood of relief in some cases appears to be rather speculative at best. E/g., Bryant v. Yellen, 447 U.S. 352, 366–368 (1980); Watt v. Energy Action Educational Foundation, 454 U.S. 151, 160–162 (1981). [Back to text]
459
See Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corp., 580 U.S. ___, No. 15–649, slip op. at 11 (2017) (holding that the “mere possibility” that a plaintiff ’s injury will not be remedied by a favorable decision is insufficient to conclude the plaintiff lacks standing because of want of redressability); see also Clinton v. City of New York, 524 U.S. 417, 430–31 (1998) (holding that the imposition of a “substantial contingent liability” qualifies as an injury for purposes of Article III standing). [Back to text]
460
Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 505 (1975); Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737, 756–761 (1984). [Back to text]
461
Thus, it appears that had the Court applied its standard in the current case, the results would have been different in such cases as Linda R. S. v. Richard D., 410 U.S. 614 (1973); Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490 (1975); Simon v. Eastern Kentucky Welfare Rights Org., 426 U.S. 26 (1976); Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737 (1984). [Back to text]
462
Northeastern Fla. Ch. of the Associated Gen. Contractors v. City of Jacksonville, 508 U.S. 656, 666 (1993). The Court derived the proposition from another set of cases. Turner v. Fouche, 396 U.S. 346 (1970); Clements v. Fashing, 457 U.S. 957 (1982); Regents of the Univ. of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265, 281 n.14 (1978). [Back to text]
463
508 U.S. at 666. But see, in the context of ripeness, Reno v. Catholic Social Services, Inc., 509 U.S. 43 (1993), in which the Court, over the dissent’s reliance on Jacksonville, 509 U.S. at 81–82, denied the relevance of its distinction between entitlement to a benefit and equal treatment. Id. at 58 n.19. [Back to text]
464
Friends of the Earth v. Laidlaw Envtl. Servs., 528 U.S. 167, 187 (2000). [Back to text]