Brief Fact Summary. The Secretary of the Interior adopted a new interpretation of Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which required consultation only for actions taken in the United States or the high seas. The wildlife groups/supporters filed for a declaratory judgment that the initial interpretation should be reinstated. The initial interpretation also required consultation for actions taken in foreign countries.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. There must be an actual cause in fact injury (“but for” the actions complained of, the party would not have suffered the injury) and a substantial or reasonable probability that a decision by the Court will address said injury.
Issue. Do the plaintiffs have standing to challenge the Secretary’s interpretation of the ESA provision?
Held. Plaintiffs cannot demonstrate an “injury in fact” caused by the Secretary’s interpretation. Plaintiffs argued that the Secretary’s interpretation of the ESA provision would endanger species and provide less protection for these species in foreign nations. Plaintiffs also claimed that they visited these foreign areas in the past and would do so again in the future. The United States Supreme Court held that such speculative injury to the plaintiffs did not meet the cause in fact requirement for standing to bring a claim in front of the Court. Further, there would be no redress for these potential injuries had the Court determined the parties did have a cause in fact injury. In addition, the Court interpreted Congress’ intent in drafting the ESA provision and determined that the Secretary’s interpretation was correct by excluding foreign nations.
One who prosecutes or defends a suit in the name of another to establish and protect his own right, or who assists in the prosecution or defense of an action in aid of some interest of his own is as much bound as he would be if he had been a party to the record.View Full Point of Law