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Environmental Law

University of Cincinnati College of Law

Standing

Articles 1 - 13 of 13

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Article Iii Standing For Private Plaintiffs Challenging Greenhouse Gas Regulations, Bradford Mank Jan 2016

Article Iii Standing For Private Plaintiffs Challenging Greenhouse Gas Regulations, Bradford Mank

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

An important unresolved question is whether non-state plaintiffs have standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution to sue in federal courts in climate change cases. In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court held a state government could sue the U.S. government to address climate change issues, and suggested, but did not decide, that private litigants might have lesser rights than states. In Washington Environmental Council v. Bellon, the Ninth Circuit held that private groups did not have standing to challenge Washington State’s failure to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from five oil refineries, and implied that ...


Standing To View Other People's Land: The D.C. Circuit's Divided Decision In Sierra Club V. Jewell, Bradford Mank Jan 2015

Standing To View Other People's Land: The D.C. Circuit's Divided Decision In Sierra Club V. Jewell, Bradford Mank

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

In its divided 2014 decision in Sierra Club v. Jewell, the D.C. Circuit held that plaintiffs who observe landscape have Article III standing to sue in federal court to protect those views even if they have no legal right to physically enter the private property that they view. The D.C. Circuit’s decision could significantly enlarge the standing of plaintiffs to sue federal agencies or private parties over changes to private lands that the plaintiffs have no right to enter. Because the Supreme Court has inconsistently applied both strict and liberal approaches to standing, it is difficult to ...


No Article Iii Standing For Private Plaintiffs Challenging State Greenhouse Gas Regulations: The Ninth Circuit's Decision In Washington Environmental Council V. Bellon, Bradford Mank Jan 2014

No Article Iii Standing For Private Plaintiffs Challenging State Greenhouse Gas Regulations: The Ninth Circuit's Decision In Washington Environmental Council V. Bellon, Bradford Mank

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

In Washington Environmental Council v. Bellon, the Ninth Circuit recently held that private plaintiffs did not have standing to sue in federal court to challenge certain state greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations because the plaintiffs failed to allege that the emissions were significant enough to make a “meaningful contribution” to global GHG levels. By contrast, in Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court held a state government had standing to sue the federal government for its failure to regulate national GHG emissions because states are “entitled to special solicitude in our standing analysis.” Massachusetts implied but did not decide that private parties ...


Informational Standing After Summers, Bradford Mank Jan 2012

Informational Standing After Summers, Bradford Mank

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

In its recent The Wilderness Society v. Rey decision, the Ninth Circuit addressed the difficult question of when a statute may establish a right to informational standing. The D.C. Circuit and the Sixth Circuit had previously reached different conclusions about whether environmental statutes promoting public participation or requiring environmental assessments in certain circumstances create a right to informational standing. The Ninth Circuit in its The Wilderness Society decision interpreted the Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Summers v. Earth Island Institute, which explicitly narrowed procedural rights standing, as implicitly narrowing standing rights in general and concluded that general notice ...


Standing In Monsanto Co. V. Geertson Seed Farms: Using Economic Injury As A Basis For Standing When Environmental Harm Is Difficult To Prove, Bradford Mank Jan 2012

Standing In Monsanto Co. V. Geertson Seed Farms: Using Economic Injury As A Basis For Standing When Environmental Harm Is Difficult To Prove, Bradford Mank

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

Many of the Supreme Court’s important standing cases have involved environmental disputes. Most recently, in 2010, the Court again addressed standing in an environmental dispute, Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms. In Monsanto, the Court did not announce a new standing doctrine. Nevertheless, the Court recognized that an environmental plaintiff may sue without proof of actual environmental harm if it can demonstrate that he or she may suffer economic losses from testing and mitigation measures related to a threatened harm. During the oral argument in Monsanto, Justice Scalia expressed skepticism that the plaintiffs could prove that the petitioners’ sale ...


Judge Posner’S 'Practical' Theory Of Standing: Closer To Justice Breyer’S Approach To Standing Than Justice Scalia’S, Bradford Mank Jan 2012

Judge Posner’S 'Practical' Theory Of Standing: Closer To Justice Breyer’S Approach To Standing Than Justice Scalia’S, Bradford Mank

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

In American Bottom Conservancy v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit questioned three different grounds articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court for the constitutional doctrine of standing in federal courts and instead argued that the “solidest grounds” for the doctrine of standing are “practical.” In part because of his self-described “pragmatic” approach to legal reasoning, Judge Posner’s maverick views may have led Republican presidents to pass him over for being nominated to the Supreme Court in favor of less brilliant but more predictable conservative judges. Judge Posner’s pragmatic or practical ...


Standing For Private Parties In Global Warming Cases: Traceable Standing Causation Does Not Require Proximate Causation, Bradford Mank Jan 2012

Standing For Private Parties In Global Warming Cases: Traceable Standing Causation Does Not Require Proximate Causation, Bradford Mank

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

This Article argues courts should apply a relatively liberal approach in deciding standing issues for private plaintiffs pursuing climate change suits even if courts ultimately conclude that it is inappropriate to grant relief on the merits to those same plaintiffs because the Supreme Court has clearly declared that standing is a preliminary question that should be treated separately from decisions on the merits and standing causation requires less proof than proximate causation on the merits. The Supreme Court in its 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA held that a state had standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution ...


Reading The Standing Tea Leaves In American Electric Power V. Connecticut, Bradford Mank Jan 2012

Reading The Standing Tea Leaves In American Electric Power V. Connecticut, Bradford Mank

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

In American Electric Power v. Connecticut (AEP), the U.S. Supreme Court by an equally divided vote of four to four affirmed the Second Circuit’s decision finding standing and jurisdiction in the case. Even though it did not announce the identities of the justices who voted for standing and against standing, the AEP decision took the unusual step of providing some explanation for how the Court divided on the standing question, and, as a result, provided important information about the positions of the justices on the issue. While it is not binding as a decision for the lower courts ...


Revisiting The Lyons Den: Summers V. Earth Island Institute's Misuse Of Lyons's Realistic Threat Of Harm Standing Test, Bradford Mank Jan 2010

Revisiting The Lyons Den: Summers V. Earth Island Institute's Misuse Of Lyons's Realistic Threat Of Harm Standing Test, Bradford Mank

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

In Summers v. Earth Island Institute, 129 S. Ct. 1142 (2009), the majority and dissenting opinions disagreed about how to apply the “realistic threat” test set forth in Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 107 (1983)). According to Justice Scalia’s majority opinion in Summers, the plaintiff organizations did not have standing to obtain injunctive relief because they failed to prove that their members were likely in the near future to hike on government land on which the Forest Service conducted allegedly illegal sales of timber without public notice and comment and that the facts alleged by the ...


Summers V. Earth Island Institute Rejects Probabilistic Standing, But A 'Realistic Threat' Of Harm Is A Better Standing Test, Bradford Mank Jan 2010

Summers V. Earth Island Institute Rejects Probabilistic Standing, But A 'Realistic Threat' Of Harm Is A Better Standing Test, Bradford Mank

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

In Summers v. Earth Island Institute, the Supreme Court recently rejected Justice Breyer’s dissenting opinion’s proposed test for organizational standing based upon the statistical probability that some of an organization’s members will likely be harmed in the near future by a defendant’s allegedly illegal actions. Implicitly, however, the Court had recognized some form of probabilistic standing in Friends of the Earth v. Laidlaw, which found standing where plaintiffs avoid recreational activities because of “reasonable concerns” about future health injuries from pollution; Summers did not overrule Laidlaw. There is an inherent tension between the Summers and Laidlaw ...


Standing And Future Generations: Does Massachusetts V. Epa Open Standing For Generations To Come?, Bradford Mank Jan 2009

Standing And Future Generations: Does Massachusetts V. Epa Open Standing For Generations To Come?, Bradford Mank

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

Many issues, especially potential environmental catastrophes caused by climate change, affect not just the living, but also future generations. The bias in our political system against addressing the interests of future generations poses serious obstacles in solving long-term environmental problems such as global warming. Because future generations cannot vote, unelected federal judges are more suited to protect their interests than the political branches.

An important question is whether anyone has standing to sue on behalf of future generations in the federal courts. The Supreme Court's Article III standing test requires plaintiffs to demonstrate that they have personally suffered an ...


Standing And Statistical Persons: A Risk-Based Approach To Standing, Bradford Mank Jan 2009

Standing And Statistical Persons: A Risk-Based Approach To Standing, Bradford Mank

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

This Article proposes that any individual has standing to challenge government action that exposes her to an increased lifetime risk of 1 in 1 million or greater of death or serious injury. Because most regulation involves statistical probabilities of harm, a plaintiff challenging a government regulatory action or inaction as insufficiently protective cannot demonstrate that he or she would likely be harmed by the allegedly inadequate regulation, but merely that a different regulation might reduce the probability of future harm. The beneficiaries of a suit seeking better government regulation are, therefore, statistical persons rather than identifiable persons. By contrast, standing ...


Should States Have Greater Standing Rights Than Ordinary Citizens?: Massachusetts V. Epa's New Standing Test For States, Bradford Mank Jan 2008

Should States Have Greater Standing Rights Than Ordinary Citizens?: Massachusetts V. Epa's New Standing Test For States, Bradford Mank

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

In Massachusetts v. EPA, 127 S. Ct. 1438 (2007), the Supreme Court held that carbon dioxide (CO²) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) are air pollutants within the meaning of the Clean Air Act (CAA). Although its decision on the merits is important, the Court's conclusion that Massachusetts had standing to file suit because states are entitled to more lenient standing criteria may have a greater impact in the long-term on legal doctrine. In Massachusetts, the Supreme Court for the first time clearly gave greater standing rights to states than ordinary citizens. The Court, however, failed to explain to what ...