The Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization includes worrying signs for environmental litigators beyond the substance of the decision, E&E News reports.
In Dobbs, a majority of the Court signaled its openness to limiting or eliminating the doctrine of “third party standing,” holding earlier abortion cases “diluted” and “ignored” the Court’s earlier applications of the doctrine. In order to have a case heard in court, a plaintiff must prove they have “standing” — including that they have been injured by the actions allegedly made by the defendant — and the doctrine of “third party standing” allows a third party (e.g. environmental non-profit) to file a lawsuit on behalf of an injured party (e.g. a community harmed by industrial pollution).
The Dobbs ruling would not affect climate lawsuits brought by young people, like Juliana v. United States, because those plaintiffs are alleging they themselves are harmed by inaction on climate change. (E&E News)