Last Stand for Prudential Standing? Lexmark and its Implications
16 Geo. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 227
27 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2018
Date Written: March 20, 2018
In Lexmark International, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc., the Supreme Court called into question its “prudential standing” doctrine, a set of self-imposed limits “beyond the constitutional requirements” of Article III that have been “in some tension” with the Court’s “virtually unflagging” obligation to hear any case or controversy that satisfies the requirements of Article III. To ameliorate this tension, the Court in Lexmark reclassified two of the three types of prudential standing restrictions it had previously categorized under that rubric. Notably, however, the Court did not say how third-party prudential standing fits into the picture, instead leaving that question for “another day.” Courts and commentators since then have acknowledged that Lexmark essentially heralded the end of this rule as well, at least in its current form. In Starr International, a recent case before the Federal Circuit, that court applied the third-party prudential standing rule despite acknowledging that the plaintiff had satisfied Article III’s requirements. A pending certiorari petition in that case asks the Court to reverse the Federal Circuit and resolve this lingering issue leftover from Lexmark. Whether or not the Court grants certiorari in Starr International, at some point the Court will need to resolve the issue left open in Lexmark, and when it does this will probably mark the end of prudential standing as we know it. Additionally, if (or when) the Court abrogates prudential standing, it likely will have ripple effects on other self-imposed prudential limitations, as well as other doctrines without clear footing in Article III.
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