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Standing, Injury in Fact, and Private Rights

F. Andrew Hessick

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

Cornell Law Review, Forthcoming

Under current law, a plaintiff has standing to bring suit only if he alleges that he suffered an injury in fact. The Supreme Court has said that this factual injury requirement is necessary to preserve the separation of powers by limiting courts to their historical function of resolving only the rights of individuals. But, despite this stated purpose, the Court has required a showing of injury in fact in actions where a plaintiff alleges the violation of a private right. This Article argues that the injury in fact requirement is superfluous in such actions. Yet the Court has not distinguished such cases, and has in fact denied standing in cases alleging the violation of private rights. As the Article shows, requiring a showing of factual injury in private rights cases is ahistorical and actually undermines the separation of powers by preventing the courts from guarding rights and by limiting Congress's power to create rights.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 62

Keywords: standing, jurisdiction, private rights, injury in fact, supreme court, federal courts

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Date posted: July 21, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Hessick, F. Andrew, Standing, Injury in Fact, and Private Rights. Cornell Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1001985

Contact Information

F. Andrew Hessick (Contact Author)
University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )
332 S. 1400 East Front
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States

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