In the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Lexmark International, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc., Justice Scalia writing for a unanimous Court partially achieved his goal of abolishing the prudential standing doctrine. First, the Court concluded that the zone of interests test concerns whether Congress has authorized a particular plaintiff to sue and is not a prudential standing question despite several Court decisions classifying it as such. However, there is a continuing controversy in the D.C. Circuit about applying the test to suits by competitors, especially in environmental cases. The better approach is to allow competitor standing in at least some environmental cases because even self-interested suits may advance the environmental purposes of the applicable statutes. Second, the Court held that its limitations on “generalized grievances” suits is based on constitutional Article III standing requirements and not the prudential standing principles relied in some of the Court’s previous cases. Yet it is not clear that treating limitations on “generalized grievances” as Article III standing requirements will preclude taxpayer suits, voting rights cases or climate change litigation, especially if the Court’s composition changes. Finally, the Court did not resolve the issue of whether limitations on third-party standing are based on prudential standing or other grounds. If the Court precludes third-party suits, however, it should recognize that some challengers have a sufficient personal Article III injury in protecting the various constitutional rights at issue in those cases, although the differing circumstances in various third-party standing cases likely preclude a single easy rule. Justice Scalia in theory eliminated two of the three major prongs of prudential standing endorsed by the Court in a 2004 decision. However, a more liberal future Supreme Court might be able to revive prudential standing in practice, if not name, without overruling Lexmark.
Mank, Bradford, "Prudential Standing Doctrine Abolished or Waiting for a Comeback?: Lexmark International, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc." (2015). Faculty Articles and Other Publications. 287.