Reconciling Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife and Massachusetts v. EPA on the Set of Procedural Rights Eligible for Relaxed Article III Standing

11th February 2012 By: Devin McDougall

The Supreme Court's 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA attracted significant attention for its discussion of Article III standing for state sovereign litigants.  However, Massachusetts also engaged with, and modified, an approach to adjudicating Article III standing for claims involving procedural rights that originated in Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife.  This aspect of the Massachusetts opinion presents something of a puzzle, because Massachusetts does not explain how its modification can be squared with the logic of the Lujan framework.  This Note explores the interplay of Massachusetts and Lujan with respect to Article III standing for procedural rights claims.  The Note analyzes the Lujan approach to standing analysis for claims involving procedural rights, explaining how Lujan altered causation and redressability requirements for certain procedural rights claims.  The Note also demonstrates that Massachusetts modified the Lujan approach by expanding the definition of procedural rights accorded relaxed standing, and develops an account of how this modification can be reconciled with the underlying structure of the Lujan framework.  Finally, the Note assesses how the Massachusetts modification has been applied and observes that, despite its relatively modest doctrinal implications, it has been neglected by federal courts.

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