In its divided 2014 decision in Sierra Club v. Jewell, the D.C. Circuit held that plaintiffs who observe landscape have Article III standing to sue in federal court to protect those views even if they have no legal right to physically enter the private property that they view. The D.C. Circuit’s decision could significantly enlarge the standing of plaintiffs to sue federal agencies or private parties over changes to private lands that the plaintiffs have no right to enter. Because the Supreme Court has inconsistently applied both strict and liberal approaches to standing, it is difficult to predict how it would decide this issue. Environmentalists and nature observers would generally favor broad standing rights, but property rights advocates would argue that only those with a legal right to enter a property should have the right to sue to protect it. If it addresses whether plaintiffs must have a legal interest in any property they seek standing to protect, the Supreme Court might be forced to resolve the contradictions in its standing doctrine.
Mank, Bradford, "Standing to View Other People's Land: The D.C. Circuit's Divided Decision in Sierra Club v. Jewell" (2015). Faculty Articles and Other Publications. 289.