Volume 94, No. 1, Fall 2021
By Moira Goodwin [PDF]

This Comment argues that third-party standing is prudential, in contrast to the relabeled zone of interests and generalized grievance rules. Part II.A provides an overview of constitutional and prudential standing doctrines. Part II.B catalogues Justice Scalia’s successful effort to remove the prudential label from the rule against generalized grievances and the zone of interests requirement. Part II.C describes the prudential rule prohibiting a plaintiff from asserting the right of a third party, as well as the recognized exception to that rule. Part II.D summarizes Justice Thomas’s June Medical challenge to third-party standing as a prudential rule.

Section III responds to Justice Thomas’s June Medical dissent and argues that the limit on third-party standing is correctly understood as a prudential doctrine. Part III.A asserts that third-party standing is unlike other once-prudential doctrines because it cannot be repackaged as a component of Article III’s injury requirement, nor can it be viewed as a merits question. Part III.B suggests that this difference makes sense because the limitation on third-party standing serves a fundamentally different function than constitutional standing rules. Finally, Part III.C explains why the prudential label could matter in future cases.