Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation : Vol. 23, No. 1, p. 073-124 : Standing & Consensus: Globalism in Massachusetts v. EPA
This Article begins, in Part I, with an overview of the emergence of scientific and legal consensus (or near consensus) on the core mechanism underlying climate change and the need for regulatory action. Next, Part II provides historical background on the Supreme Court’s development and application of standing doctrine, illustrating the unique difficulty of reconciling environmental cases with narrow conceptions of jurisdiction. In Part III, this Article discusses the majority opinion in Massachusetts and the dissent by Chief Justice Roberts on standing grounds. Part IV demonstrates the significance of Massachusetts’ embrace of a standing theory based on interconnection in environmental systems, arguing that the analysis should apply equally to public and private plaintiffs in environmental cases. Further, Part V demonstrates the role of scientific consensus in driving the standing analysis and highlights the impact of this acceptance on lower court cases and the potential impact in other areas of environmental regulation. This part concludes by explaining the Court’s broader recognition of U.S. regulation in a global context as a step toward a greater incorporation of global concerns in U.S. environmental litigation.