Sierra Club v. Morton

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Sierra Club v. Morton

Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727 (1972), is a famous United States Supreme Court case on the issue of standing in environmental lawsuits.Excerpted from Sierra Club v. Morton on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Court Documents


405 U.S. 727

Sierra Club v. Morton


No. 70-34

Argued: November 17, 1971 --- Decided: April 19, 1972

Petitioner, a membership corporation with "a special interest in the conservation and sound maintenance of the national parks, game refuges, and forests of the country," brought this suit for a declaratory judgment and an injunction to restrain federal officials from approving an extensive skiing development in the Mineral King Valley in the Sequoia National Forest. Petitioner relies on § 10 of the Administrative Procedure Act, which accords judicial review to a

"person suffering legal wrong because of agency action, or [who is] adversely affected or aggrieved by agency action within the meaning of a relevant statute."

On the theory that this was a "public" action involving questions as to the use of natural resources, petitioner did not allege that the challenged development would affect the club or its members in their activities, or that they used Mineral King, but maintained that the project would adversely change the area's aesthetics and ecology. The District Court granted a preliminary injunction. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the club lacked standing, and had not shown irreparable injury.

Held: A person has standing to seek judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act only if he can show that he himself has suffered or will suffer injury, whether economic or otherwise. In this case, where petitioner asserted no individualized harm to itself or its members, it lacked standing to maintain the action. Pp. 405 U. S. 731-741.

433 F.2d 24, affirmed.

STEWART, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and WHITE and MARSHALL, JJ., joined. DOUGLAS, J., post, p. 405 U. S. 741, BRENNAN, J., post, p. 405 U. S. 755, and BLACKMUN, J., post, p. 405 U. S. 755, filed dissenting opinions. POWELL and REHNQUIST, JJ., took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).