A Survey of Constitutional Standing in State Courts

8 Ky. J. Equine, Agric., & Nat. Resources L. 349 (2015-2016)

51 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2017

See all articles by Wyatt Sassman

Wyatt Sassman

University of Denver, Sturm College of Law

Date Written: 2015


State courts sometimes limit their power to adjudicate cases according to constitutional standing requirements adopted by federal courts under Article III of the United States Constitution. Why? State courts are not governed by Article III, and as courts of general, rather than limited, jurisdiction, play a different role than federal courts. This Article surveys recent decisions of the fifty states and District of Columbia to answer three questions: (1) does the state apply constitutional standing requirements similar to the federal courts; (2) if so, what is the state's rationale for applying constitutional standing requirements; and (3) does the state recognize any exceptions to its constitutional standing requirements? The Article presents its results in terms of majority and minority positions, finding that: (1) a majority of states apply constitutional standing, but only a minority of those states adopt the controlling federal test articulated in Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555 (1992); (2) a majority of states that apply constitutional standing requirements attribute those requirements to something other than a written constitution; and (3) a majority of states recognize exceptions to their state constitutional standing requirements. Thus, I conclude that federal constitutional standing doctrine has had an outsized, but not controlling, influence on the development of state constitutional standing doctrines. Lastly, I recommend further study assessing the diversity of state rationales for constitutional standing and generating an alternative theory of constitutional standing distinguishable from Article III doctrine and better suited to the states' flexible approaches.

Keywords: Constitutional Law, Standing, State Courts

JEL Classification: K40

Suggested Citation

Sassman, Wyatt, A Survey of Constitutional Standing in State Courts (2015). 8 Ky. J. Equine, Agric., & Nat. Resources L. 349 (2015-2016) , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2977348

Wyatt Sassman (Contact Author)

University of Denver, Sturm College of Law ( email )

2255 E. Evans Ave.
Ste 335
Denver, CO 80208
United States

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