The Supreme Court’s Standing Problem
November 7, 2008Ronald A. Cass
Standing is a concept that at its core signals a peculiar problem. In ordinary damage actions, the question of standing is irrelevant: either you can prove that you have been wronged in a way that generates liability or you cannot. But where a claimant seeks something else—especially a declaration that a government agent has acted improperly, with or without a corresponding command for diff erent action—standing law is critical. Without some limitation on who can sue, the courts become conduits for constant challenges to the decisions of the other branches of government, transforming the least dangerous branch into the most powerful one, with unlimited second-guessing authority.