The Story of Prudential Standing

39 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2014 Last revised: 23 Dec 2014

Date Written: September 30, 2014


Prudential standing, it seems, is the latest target in the Roberts Court’s effort to “bring some discipline” to jurisdictional and pseudo-jurisdictional concepts. During the Court’s last two terms, it issued a unanimous opinion that excised the zone of interests test from prudential standing doctrine (Lexmark), two unanimous opinions that questioned federal courts’ prudential discretion to decline jurisdiction (Lexmark and Driehaus), and a bitterly divided opinion in which the classification of a standing principle as prudential or constitutional was decisive (Windsor). Moreover, in Lexmark, the Court suggested that the third party standing principle may not be properly classified as prudential standing either, but it recognized that the question is complex and left its resolution for another day.

This article examines the evolution of the prudential branch of standing doctrine, its impact on standing doctrine and judicial review, and its future in light of these recent opinions.

Suggested Citation

Brown, S. Todd, The Story of Prudential Standing (September 30, 2014). Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, Vol. 42, No. 1, 2014; SUNY Buffalo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2015-10. Available at SSRN:

S. Todd Brown (Contact Author)

SUNY Buffalo Law School ( email )

528 O'Brian Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
United States

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