, Steel Co. v. Citizens for Better Environment :: 523 U.S. 83 (1998) :: US LAW US Supreme Court Center

Steel Co. v. Citizens for Better Environment :: 523 U.S. 83 (1998) :: US LAW US Supreme Court Center

    OCTOBER TERM, 1997

    Syllabus

    STEEL CO., AKA CHICAGO STEEL & PICKLING CO. v. CITIZENS FOR A BETTER ENVIRONMENT

    CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT

    No. 96-643. Argued October 6, 1997-Decided March four, 1998

    Alleging that petitioner producer had violated the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA) with the aid of failing to document well timed poisonous- and hazardous-chemical garage and emission reports for beyond years, respondent environmental protection business enterprise filed this personal enforcement movement for declaratory and injunctive relief below EPCRA s citizen-match provision, forty two U. S. C. § 11046(a)(1). The District Court held that, because petitioner had delivered its filings up to date by the time the grievance changed into filed, the courtroom lacked jurisdiction to entertain a match for a gift violation; and that, because EPCRA does no longer permit suit for a in simple terms historic violation, respondent s allegation of untimely filing became not a declare upon which comfort may be granted. The Seventh Circuit reversed, concluding that EPCRA authorizes citizen suits for in simple terms beyond violations.

    Held: Because none of the relaxation sought could possibly remedy respondent s alleged harm in reality, respondent lacks status to preserve this in shape, and this Court and the lower courts lack jurisdiction to entertain it. Pp.88-a hundred and ten.

    (a) The merits difficulty in this example-whether or not § 11046(a) permits citizen fits for purely beyond violations-is not additionally "jurisdictional," and so does not occupy the same popularity as standing to sue as a question that have to be resolved first. It is firmly installed that a district court docket s subjectmatter jurisdiction isn't always defeated by means of the absence of a legitimate (in preference to arguable) motive of movement, see, e. g., Bell v. Hood, 327 U. S. 678, 682. Subject-remember jurisdiction exists if the proper to recover may be sustained underneath one analyzing of the Constitution and legal guidelines and defeated under any other, id., at 685, until the claim definitely seems to be immaterial, wholly insubstantial and frivolous, or in any other case so without merit as now not to involve a federal controversy, see, e. g., Oneida Indian Nation of N. Y. v. County of Oneida, 414 U. S. 661, 666. Here, respondent wins under one construction of EPCRA and loses below another, and its claim is not frivolous or immaterial. It is unreasonable to read § 11046(c)which offers that "[t]he district courtroom shall have jurisdiction in actions introduced beneath subsection (a) ... to enforce [an EPCRA] requirement ... and to impose any civil penalty supplied for violation of that requirement"-as making all of the elements of the § 11046(a) purpose of ac-


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    tion jurisdictional, instead of as simply specifying the remedial powers of the courtroom. Gwaltney of Smithfield, Ltd. v. Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Inc., 484 U. S. forty nine, as well as instances figuring out a statutory status question earlier than a constitutional status question, outstanding. In no case has this Court referred to as the existence of a reason of movement "jurisdictional," and decided that query earlier than resolving a dispute regarding the lifestyles of an Article III case or controversy. Such a precept could flip every statutory question in an EPCRA citizen fit right into a question of jurisdiction that this Court might ought to remember-certainly, increase sua sponte-even if now not raised under. Pp. 88-ninety three.

    (b) This Court declines to advise the "doctrine of hypothetical jurisdiction," below which numerous Courts of Appeals have located it proper to continue right away to the deserves query, notwithstanding jurisdictional objections, as a minimum in which (1) the merits query is greater effectively resolved, and (2) the winning party on the merits would be the same as the winning birthday celebration have been jurisdiction denied. That doctrine contains the courts beyond the limits of authorized judicial motion and for this reason offends fundamental separation-of-powers ideas. In a long and venerable line of cases, this Court has held that, with out proper jurisdiction, a courtroom can't proceed in any respect, but can handiest be aware the jurisdictional illness and brush aside the healthy. See, e. g., Capron v. Van Noorden, 2 Cranch 126; Arizonans for Official English v. Arizona, 520 U. S. forty three, seventy three. Bell v. Hood, supra; National Railroad Passenger Corp. v. National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 414 U. S. 453, 465, n. 13; Norton v. Mathews, 427 U. S. 524, 531; Secretary of Navy v. Avrech, 418 U. S. 676, 678 (in step with curiam); United States v. Augenblick, 393 U. S. 348; Philbrook v. Glodgett, 421 U. S. 707, 721; and Chandler v. Judicial Council of Tenth Circuit, 398 U. S. seventy four, 86-88, distinguished. For a court docket to pronounce upon a regulation s meaning or constitutionality whilst it has no jurisdiction to achieve this is, through very definition, an extremely vires act. Pp. 93-102.

    (c) Respondent lacks status to sue. Standing is the "irreducible constitutional minimal" necessary to make a justiciable "case" or "controversy" underneath Article III, §2. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U. S. 555, 560. It consists of 3 necessities: injury in truth to the plaintiff, causation of that injury with the aid of the defendant s complained-of behavior, and a probability that the asked remedy will redress that harm. E. g., ibid. Even assuming, as respondent asserts, that petitioner s failure to document EPCRA facts in a timely way, and the lingering effects of that failure, constitute a concrete damage in fact to respondent and its participants that satisfies Article III, cf. id., at 578, the complaint despite the fact that fails the redress capability take a look at: None of the specific items of comfort sought-a declaratory judgment that petitioner violated EPCRA;


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    Full Text of Opinion

    OCTOBER TERM, 1997

    Syllabus

    STEEL CO., AKA CHICAGO STEEL & PICKLING CO. v. CITIZENS FOR A BETTER ENVIRONMENT

    CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT

    No. 96-643. Argued October 6, 1997-Decided March four, 1998

    Alleging that petitioner producer had violated the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA) by way of failing to report well timed toxic- and risky-chemical storage and emission reports for past years, respondent environmental protection corporation filed this non-public enforcement movement for declaratory and injunctive relief under EPCRA s citizen-fit provision, forty two U. S. C. § 11046(a)(1). The District Court held that, because petitioner had introduced its filings updated by the point the grievance became filed, the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain a in shape for a present violation; and that, because EPCRA does now not permit in shape for a only historic violation, respondent s allegation of untimely submitting was not a claim upon which relief could be granted. The Seventh Circuit reversed, concluding that EPCRA authorizes citizen suits for merely beyond violations.

    Held: Because none of the relaxation sought might in all likelihood treatment respondent s alleged injury in reality, respondent lacks status to hold this match, and this Court and the lower courts lack jurisdiction to entertain it. Pp.88-one hundred ten.

    (a) The deserves difficulty in this case-whether § 11046(a) allows citizen fits for in basic terms past violations-is not also "jurisdictional," and so does not occupy the identical reputation as status to sue as a query that must be resolved first. It is firmly mounted that a district court docket s subjectmatter jurisdiction isn't always defeated by means of the absence of a legitimate (in place of debatable) motive of action, see, e. g., Bell v. Hood, 327 U. S. 678, 682. Subject-depend jurisdiction exists if the right to get better will be sustained beneath one reading of the Constitution and laws and defeated under any other, identity., at 685, unless the declare virtually seems to be immaterial, thoroughly insubstantial and frivolous, or in any other case so with out merit as no longer to involve a federal controversy, see, e. g., Oneida Indian Nation of N. Y. v. County of Oneida, 414 U. S. 661, 666. Here, respondent wins beneath one production of EPCRA and loses under another, and its declare isn't frivolous or immaterial. It is unreasonable to read § 11046(c)which gives that "[t]he district court docket shall have jurisdiction in moves brought below subsection (a) ... to put into effect [an EPCRA] requirement ... and to impose any civil penalty furnished for violation of that requirement"-as making all the factors of the § 11046(a) purpose of ac-


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    tion jurisdictional, as opposed to as simply specifying the remedial powers of the courtroom. Gwaltney of Smithfield, Ltd. v. Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Inc., 484 U. S. 49, as well as cases deciding a statutory standing question before a constitutional standing question, outstanding. In no case has this Court known as the life of a motive of movement "jurisdictional," and determined that question earlier than resolving a dispute concerning the life of an Article III case or controversy. Such a precept might flip each statutory query in an EPCRA citizen fit into a query of jurisdiction that this Court might should recall-indeed, boost sua sponte-even if no longer raised underneath. Pp. 88-93.

    (b) This Court declines to propose the "doctrine of hypothetical jurisdiction," underneath which several Courts of Appeals have determined it proper to proceed straight away to the merits question, despite jurisdictional objections, at the least where (1) the merits query is more quite simply resolved, and (2) the triumphing celebration on the merits could be the same as the triumphing celebration were jurisdiction denied. That doctrine carries the courts past the bounds of authorized judicial action and thus offends fundamental separation-of-powers ideas. In a long and venerable line of instances, this Court has held that, without proper jurisdiction, a court docket cannot proceed in any respect, but can handiest be aware the jurisdictional illness and dismiss the healthy. See, e. g., Capron v. Van Noorden, 2 Cranch 126; Arizonans for Official English v. Arizona, 520 U. S. forty three, seventy three. Bell v. Hood, supra; National Railroad Passenger Corp. v. National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 414 U. S. 453, 465, n. thirteen; Norton v. Mathews, 427 U. S. 524, 531; Secretary of Navy v. Avrech, 418 U. S. 676, 678 (in keeping with curiam); United States v. Augenblick, 393 U. S. 348; Philbrook v. Glodgett, 421 U. S. 707, 721; and Chandler v. Judicial Council of Tenth Circuit, 398 U. S. 74, 86-88, prominent. For a court docket to pronounce upon a law s which means or constitutionality whilst it has no jurisdiction to do so is, by means of very definition, an ultra vires act. Pp. ninety three-102.

    (c) Respondent lacks status to sue. Standing is the "irreducible constitutional minimal" important to make a justiciable "case" or "controversy" below Article III, §2. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U. S. 555, 560. It carries three necessities: injury in truth to the plaintiff, causation of that injury via the defendant s complained-of conduct, and a likelihood that the requested alleviation will redress that damage. E. g., ibid. Even assuming, as respondent asserts, that petitioner s failure to report EPCRA data in a well timed way, and the lingering results of that failure, constitute a concrete injury in reality to respondent and its members that satisfies Article III, cf. id., at 578, the grievance despite the fact that fails the redress capacity check: None of the specific objects of comfort sought-a declaratory judgment that petitioner violated EPCRA;


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    injunctive relief authorizing respondent to make periodic inspections of petitioner s facility and records and requiring petitioner to offer respondent copies of its compliance reports; and orders requiring petitioner to pay EPCRA civil consequences to the Treasury and to reimburse respondent s litigation prices-and no workable comfort underneath the criticism s very last, general request, would serve to reimburse respondent for losses caused by petitioner s overdue reporting, or to do away with any outcomes of that overdue reporting upon respondent. Pp. 102-109.

    90 F.3d 1237, vacated and remanded.

    SCALIA, J., introduced the opinion of the Court, wherein REHNQUIST, C. J., and O CONNOR, KENNEDY, and THOMAS, JJ., joined, and wherein BREYER, J., joined as to Parts I and IV. O CONNOR, J., filed a concurring opinion, wherein KENNEDY, J., joined, put up, p. 110. BREYER, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring inside the judgment, put up, p. 111. STEVENS, J., filed an opinion concurring inside the judgment, wherein SouTER, J., joined as to Parts I, III, and IV, and GINSBURG, J., joined as to Part III, publish, p. 112. GINSBURG, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, post, p. 134.

    Sanford M. Stein argued the reason for petitioner. With him on the briefs became Leo P. Dombrowski.

    David A. Strauss argued the purpose for respondent. With him at the quick have been James D. Brusslan and Stefan A. Noe.

    Irving L. Gornstein argued the cause for the US as amicus curiae urging affirmance. With him on the brief have been Acting Solicitor General Dellinger, Assistant Lawyer General Schiffer, Deputy Solicitor General Wallace, James A. Feldman, Edward J. Shawaker, and Mark R. Haag.*

    *Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for the American Forest & Paper Association, Inc., et al. with the aid of Jan S. Amundson and Quentin Riegel; for the American Iron & Steel Institute et al. by means of Scott M. DuBoff, Valerie J. Ughetta, Robin S. Conrad, and J. Walker Henry; for the Chemical Manufacturers Association via James W Conrad, Christina Franz, and Carter G. Phillips; for the Clean Air Implementation Project with the aid of William H. Lewis, Jr., and Michael A. McCord; for the Mid-America Legal Foundation et al. by James T. Harrington, William F. Moran III, and Gregory


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    86 STEEL CO. v. CITIZENS FOR BETTER ENVIRONMENT

    JUSTICE SCALIA introduced the opinion of the Court.

    This is a personal enforcement action below the citizen-suit provision of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA), a hundred Stat. 1755, 42 U. S. C. § 1l046(a)(1). The case offers the deserves question, replied within the affirmative by way of the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, whether EPCRA authorizes suits for only past violations. It also presents the jurisdictional query whether or not respondent, plaintiff below, has standing to carry this motion.

    I

    Respondent, an association of people inquisitive about environmental safety, sued petitioner, a small manufacturing enterprise in Chicago, for beyond violations of EPCRA. EPCRA establishes a framework of country, local, and local groups designed to inform the public approximately the presence of hazardous and toxic chemical substances, and to provide for emergency reaction within the event of fitness-threatening launch. Central to its operation are reporting requirements compelling users of specific poisonous and risky chemical substances to record annual

    R. McClintock; for the Pacific Legal Foundation by using Robin L. Rivett and M. Reed Hopper; and for the Washington Legal Foundation by means of Barry M. Hartman, Daniel J. Popeo, and Paul D. Kamenar.

    Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed for the State of New York et al. with the aid of Dennis C. Vacco, Lawyer General of New York, Barbara G. Billet, Solicitor General, Peter H. Schiff, Deputy Solicitor General, and Maureen F. Leary, Assistant Lawyer General, and with the aid of the Lawyers General for his or her respective jurisdictions as follows: Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, M. Jane Brady of Delaware, Thurbert E. Baker of Georgia, Calvin E. Holloway, Sr., of Guam, Margery S. Bronster of Hawaii, Pamela Fanning Carter of Indiana, Scott Harshbarger of Massachusetts, Jeremiah W Nixon of Missouri, Philip T. McLaughlin of New Hampshire, Michael F. Easley of North Carolina, W A. Drew Edmondson of Oklahoma, William H. Sorrell of Vermont, James S. Gilmore III of Virginia, and Darrell V. McGraw, Jr., of West Virginia; and for the Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., et al. by means of James M. Hecker.


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    "emergency and risky chemical stock forms" and "poisonous chemical release paperwork," which comprise, inter alia, the call and vicinity of the power, the name and amount of the chemical available, and, inside the case of toxic chemicals, the waste-disposal method employed and the yearly amount launched into every environmental medium. forty two U. S. C. §§ 11022 and 11023. The dangerous-chemical inventory bureaucracy for any given calendar year are due the following March 1st, and the poisonous-chemical launch forms the subsequent July 1st. §§ 11022(a)(2) and 11023(a).

    Enforcement of EPCRA can take vicinity on many fronts.

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the most effective enforcement arsenal: it may seek criminal, civil, or administrative penalties. § 11045. State and nearby governments also can are searching for civil penalties, as well as injunctive remedy. §§ 11046(a)(2) and (c). For purposes of this case, however, the vital enforcement mechanism is the citizen-suit provision, § 11046(a)(1), which likewise authorizes civil consequences and injunctive alleviation, see § 11046(c). This presents that "any character might also commence a civil motion on his own behalf in opposition to ... [a]n proprietor or operator of a facility for failure," amongst different matters, to "[c]omplete and post an stock form beneath segment 11022(a) of this name ... [and] segment 11023(a) of this name." § 11046(a)(1). As a prerequisite to bringing any such fit, the plaintiff need to, 60 days prior to filing his grievance, provide be aware to the Administrator of the EPA, the State wherein the alleged violation happens, and the alleged violator. § 11046(d). The citizen suit may not go ahead if the Administrator "has started and is diligently pursuing an administrative order or civil motion to enforce the requirement involved or to impose a civil penalty." § 11046(e).

    In 1995 respondent despatched a note to petitioner, the Administrator, and the applicable Illinois government, alleging-as it should be, as it seems-that petitioner had failed because 1988, the first 12 months of EPCRA s submitting cut-off dates, to complete and


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    to submit the requisite hazardous-chemical stock and poisonous-chemical launch paperwork below §§ 11022 and 11023. Upon receiving the awareness, petitioner filed all of the overdue paperwork with the applicable corporations. The EPA chose not to carry an action towards petitioner, and whilst the 60-day waiting period expired, respondent filed healthy in Federal District Court. Petitioner directly filed a motion to dismiss underneath Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and (6), contending that, because its filings had been updated while the grievance turned into filed, the court docket had no jurisdiction to entertain a suit for a gift violation; and that, due to the fact EPCRA does not allow fit for a purely ancient violation, respondent s allegation of untimeliness in filing turned into not a claim upon which remedy may be granted.

    The District Court agreed with petitioner on both points.

    App. to Pet. for Cert. A24-A26. The Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that residents can also are looking for consequences against EPCRA violators who document after the statutory closing date and after receiving word. 90 F.3d 1237 (CA7 1996). We granted certiorari, 519 U. S. 1147 (1997).

    II

    We granted certiorari in this situation to clear up a war among the interpretation of EPCRA followed by way of the Seventh Circuit and the interpretation formerly adopted with the aid of the Sixth Circuit in Atlantic States Legal Foundation, Inc. v. United Musical Instruments, U. S. A., Inc., 61 F.3d 473 (1995)-a case depended on via the District Court, and mentioned by using the Seventh Circuit to be "factually indistinguishable," 90 F. 3d, at 1241-1242. Petitioner, however, both in its petition for certiorari and in its briefs on the deserves, has raised the problem of respondent s standing to hold the suit, and hence this Court s jurisdiction to entertain it. Though there may be some dispute on this point, see Part III, infra, this will usually be taken into consideration a threshold query that must be resolved in respondent s choose before proceeding to the


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    merits. JUSTICE STEVENS opinion concurring within the judgment, however, claims that the query whether § 1l046(a) allows this motive of motion is also "jurisdictional," and so has equivalent claim to being resolved first. Whether that is so has extensive implications for this case and for lots others, and so the point warrants prolonged discussion.

    It is firmly installed in our instances that the absence of a valid (instead of controversial) motive of movement does no longer implicate problem-rely jurisdiction, i. e., the courts statutory or constitutional energy to adjudicate the case. See typically 5A C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1350, p. 196, n. eight and cases stated (second ed. 1990). As we said in Bell v. Hood, 327 U. S. 678, 682 (1946), "[j]urisdiction ... isn't defeated ... by the opportunity that the averments may fail to kingdom a purpose of movement on which petitioners could surely recover." Rather, the district court has jurisdiction if "the right of the petitioners to get better below their grievance could be sustained if the Constitution and legal guidelines of the US are given one production and might be defeated if they are given some other," id., at 685, except the claim "honestly appears to be immaterial and made solely for the reason of acquiring jurisdiction or in which this type of claim is completely insubstantial and frivolous." Id., at 682-683; see also Bray v. Alexandria Women s Health Clinic, 506 U. S. 263,285 (1993); The Fair v. Kohler Die & Specialty Co., 228 U. S. 22, 25 (1913). Dismissal for loss of subject-be counted jurisdiction due to the inadequacy of the federal declare is right only whilst the declare is "so insubstantial, fantastic, foreclosed by means of prior choices of this Court, or in any other case absolutely without benefit as no longer to involve a federal controversy." Oneida Indian Nation of N. Y. v. County of Oneida, 414 U. S. 661, 666 (1974); see also Romero v. International Terminal Operating Co., 358 U. S. 354, 359 (1959). Here, respondent wins under one production of EPCRA and loses under another, and JUSTICE STEVENS does not argue that respondent s claim is frivolous or immaterial-


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    90 STEEL CO. v. CITIZENS FOR BETTER ENVIRONMENT

    in reality, recognizes that the language of the citizen-fit provision is ambiguous. Post, at 131.

    JUSTICE STEVENS is predicated on our treatment of a comparable trouble as jurisdictional in Gwaltney of Smithfield, Ltd. v. Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Inc., 484 U. S. 49 (1987). Post, at 114. The statute at issue in that case, but, after developing the cause of movement, went on to mention that "[t]he district courts shall have jurisdiction, without regard to the amount in controversy or the citizenship of the parties," to offer diverse kinds of remedy. 33 U. S. C. § 1365(a) (emphasis brought). The italicized phrase strongly suggested (possibly misleadingly) that the availability become addressing genuine subject-matter jurisdiction. The corresponding provision inside the gift case, but, reads as follows:

    "The district court docket shall have jurisdiction in moves brought below subsection (a) of this segment in opposition to an owner or operator of a facility to put into effect the requirement worried and to impose any civil penalty provided for violation of that requirement." 42 U. S. C. § 11046(c).

    It is unreasonable to read this as making all the elements of the motive of action below subsection (a) jurisdictional, rather than as merely specifying the remedial powers of the court docket, viz., to put into effect the violated requirement and to impose civil consequences. "Jurisdiction," it's been found, "is a phrase of many, too many, meanings," United States v. Vanness, 85 F.3d 661, 663, n. 2 (CADC 1996), and it is not unusual for the time period for use because it naturally became here. See, e. g., 7 U. S. C. § 13a-1(d) ("In any movement delivered underneath this section, the Commission may are seeking and the courtroom shall have jurisdiction to impose ... a civil penalty in the quantity of now not more than the better of $100,000 or triple the financial benefit to the man or woman for each violation"); 15 U. S. C. § 2622(d) ("In movements introduced beneath this subsection, the district courts shall have jurisdiction to grant all appropriate comfort,


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    including injunctive relief and compensatory and exemplary damages"); 42 U. S. C. § 7622(d) ("In movements added under this subsection, the district courts shall have jurisdiction to grant all appropriate alleviation which include, but not restricted to, injunctive alleviation, compensatory, and exemplary damages").

    It is also the case that the Gwaltney opinion does now not display the slightest attention that whatever became upon whether the lifestyles of a motive of motion for past violations changed into technically jurisdictional-as indeed not anything of substance did. The District Court had statutory jurisdiction over the healthy in any event, seeing that continuing violations have been also alleged. See 484 U. S., at 64. It is actual, as JUSTICE STEVENS points out, that the problem of Article III status that is addressed at the quit of the opinion ought to technically were addressed on the outset if the statutory query became not jurisdictional. But that still did no longer surely rely, considering that Article III standing turned into in any occasion found. The brief of the matter is that the jurisdictional person of the elements of the purpose of action in Gwaltney made no sizeable distinction (nor even any procedural distinction that the Court seemed aware of), have been assumed through the events, and become assumed without discussion through the Court. We have often stated that drive-by way of jurisdictional rulings of this kind (if Gwaltney can even be known as a ruling on the point rather than a dictum) don't have any precedential effect. See Lewis v. Casey, 518 U. S. 343, 352, n. 2 (1996); Federal Election Comm n v. NRA Political Victory Fund, 513 U. S. 88, ninety seven (1994); United States v. L. A. Tucker Truck Lines, Inc., 344 U. S. 33, 38 (1952). But even supposing it is authoritative at the point as to the exclusive statute there at problem, it is fanciful to think that Gwaltney revised our set up jurisprudence that the failure of a cause of action does now not robotically produce a failure of jurisdiction, or adopted the expansive principle that a statute announcing "the district courtroom shall have jurisdiction to remedy violations [in specified ways]"


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    92 STEEL CO. v. CITIZENS FOR BETTER ENVIRONMENT

    renders the existence of a violation important for subjectmatter jurisdiction.

    JUSTICE STEVENS concurrence devotes a big part of its discussion to instances in which a statutory status query was decided before a question of constitutional standing. See publish, at one hundred fifteen-117. They also are inappropriate here, as it isn't a statutory status query that JUSTICE STEVENS would have us determine first. He wishes to resolve, not whether or not EPCRA authorizes this plaintiff to sue (it usually does), however whether the scope of the EPCRA right of action consists of past violations. Such a query, we've got held, goes to the merits and no longer to statutory standing. See Northwest Airlines, Inc. v. County of Kent, 510 U. S. 355, 365 (1994) ("The query whether or not a federal statute creates a declare for remedy isn't always jurisdictional"); Romero v. International Terminal Operating Co., supra, at 359; Montana-Dakota Util. Co. v. Northwestern Public Service Co., 341 U. S. 246, 249 (1951).

    Though it's far replete with enormous case discussions, case citations, rationalizations, and syllogoids, see post, at 120, n. 12, and n. 2, infra, JUSTICE STEVENS opinion conspicuously lacks one primary feature: a unmarried case in which this Court has completed what he proposes, to wit, call the lifestyles of a reason of action "jurisdictional," and decide that query earlier than resolving a dispute concerning the lifestyles of an Article III case or controversy. Of route, even though there had been now not solid precedent contradicting JUSTICE STEVENS role, the outcomes are by myself enough to condemn it. It might flip every statutory query in an EPCRA citizen fit into a query of jurisdiction. Under JUSTICE STEVENS evaluation, § 11046(c) s furnish of "jurisdiction in actions brought under [§ 11046(a)]" withholds jurisdiction over claims involving only past violations if past violations aren't in fact covered with the aid of § 11046(a). By parity of reasoning, if there's a dispute as to whether the omission of a selected object constituted a failure to "entire" the shape; or as to


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    whether or not a selected way of shipping complied in time with the requirement to "put up" the shape; and if the court agreed with the defendant at the factor; the action would no longer be "added under [§ 11046(a)]," and could be brushed off for lack of jurisdiction in preference to determined at the deserves. Moreover, the ones statutory arguments, in view that they're "jurisdictional," could need to be taken into consideration by means of this Court even though not raised earlier within the litigation-certainly, this Court might must increase them sua sponte. See Mt. Healthy City Bd. of Ed. v. Doyle, 429 U. S. 274, 278-279 (1977); Great Southern Fire Proof Hotel Co. v. Jones, 177 U. S. 449, 453 (1900). Congress of direction did no longer create this kind of abnormal scheme. In referring to movements "added underneath" § 11046(a), § 11046(c) approach suits contending that § 11046(a) carries a certain requirement. If JUSTICE STEVENS is correct that every one reason-of-motion questions can be appeared as jurisdictional questions, and hence capable of being decided wherein there's no authentic case or controversy, it's far difficult to look what's left of that limitation in Article III.

    III

    In addition to its try and convert the merits problem in this case into a jurisdictional one, JUSTICE STEVENS concurrence proceeds, post, at 117-124, to argue the bolder point that jurisdiction need not be addressed first anyway. Even if the statutory query isn't "fram[ed] ... in terms of jurisdiction, " but is without a doubt "signify[d] ... as whether respondent s grievance states a purpose of motion, " "it's also clear that we have the strength to determine the statutory question first." Post, at 117-118. This is essentially the location embraced by using several Courts of Appeals, which find it proper to proceed without delay to the merits question, despite jurisdictional objections, at the least where (1) the merits question is extra effectively resolved, and (2) the triumphing celebration at the deserves would be the same as the prevailing party were jurisdiction denied. See, e. g., SEC v. American


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    Capital Investments, Inc., ninety eight F.3d 1133, 1139-1142 (CA9 1996), cert. denied sub nom. Shelton v. Barnes, 520 U. S. 1185 (1997); Smith v. Avino, 91 F.3d a hundred and five, 108 (CAll 1996); Clow v. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 948 F. 2nd 614, 616, n. 2 (CA9 1991); Cross-Sound Ferry Services, Inc. v. ICC, 934 F.2nd 327, 333 (CADC 1991); United States v. Parcel of Land, 928 F.2nd 1,four (CAl1991); Browning-Ferris Industries v. Muszynski, 899 F.2d 151, 154-159 (CA2 1990). The Ninth Circuit has denominated this practice-which it characterizes as "assuming" jurisdiction for the reason of determining the merits-the "doctrine of hypothetical jurisdiction." See, e. g., United States v. Troescher, 99 F.3d 933, 934, n. 1 (1996).1

    We decline to suggest such an method because it consists of the courts past the bounds of legal judicial action and therefore offends essential principles of separation of powers. This end must come as no wonder, in view that it is meditated in an extended and venerable line of our instances. "Without jurisdiction the court can not proceed at all in any cause. Jurisdiction is power to claim the regulation, and while it ceases to exist, the simplest characteristic ultimate to the courtroom is that of saying the fact and dismissing the motive." Ex parte McCardle, 7 Wall. 506, 514 (1869). "On each writ of blunders or attraction, the first and essential question is that of jurisdiction, first, of this courtroom, and then of the court from which the document comes. This question the court is sure to invite and solution for itself, even when not otherwise counseled, and with out admire to the relation of the events to it." Great Southern Fire Proof Hotel Co. v. Jones, supra, at 453. The requirement that jurisdiction be hooked up as a threshold be counted "spring[s] from the nature and limits of

    1 Our disposition makes it appropriate to deal with the approach taken by way of this sizeable frame of Court of Appeals precedent. The reality that JusTICE STEVENS concurrence takes essentially the same method makes his contention that this discussion is an "tour," and "pointless to an explanation" of our selection, submit, at 121, particularly puzzling.


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    the judicial electricity of america" and is "inflexible and without exception." Mansfield, C. & L. M. R. Co. v. Swan, 111 U. S. 379, 382 (1884).

    This Court s insistence that proper jurisdiction seem starts as a minimum as early as 1804, when we set aside a judgment for the defendant at the instance of the dropping plaintiff who had himself didn't allege the basis for federal jurisdiction. Capron v. Van Noorden, 2 Cranch 126 (1804). Just remaining Term, we restated this precept in the clearest style, unanimously putting aside the Ninth Circuit s deserves decision in a case that had misplaced the factors of a justiciable controversy:

    " [E]very federal appellate court docket has a special obligation to satisfy itself no longer handiest of its very own jurisdiction, however additionally that of the lower courts in a reason beneath evaluate, despite the fact that the parties are organized to concede it. Mitchell v. Maurer, 293 U. S. 237, 244 (1934). See Juidice v. Vail, 430 U. S. 327, 331-332 (1977) (status). And if the report discloses that the decrease courtroom became with out jurisdiction this court docket will word the defect, although the events make no competition concerning it. [When the lower federal court] lack[s] jurisdiction, we've jurisdiction on enchantment, not of the deserves however simply for the cause of correcting the error of the decrease court in unique the suit. United States v. Corrick, 298 U. S. 435, 440 (1936) (footnotes disregarded). Arizonans for Official English v. Arizona, 520 U. S. 43, 73 (1997), quoting Bender v. Williamsport Area School Dist., 475 U. S. 534, 541 (1986) (brackets in original).

    JUSTICE STEVENS arguments contradicting all this jurisprudence-and putting forward that a courtroom might also decide the cause of movement before resolving Article III jurisdiction-are without problems refuted. First, his concurrence seeks to convert Bell v. Hood, 327 U. S. 678 (1946), right into a case wherein the causeof-motion query become determined earlier than an Article III stand-


    ninety six

    ing question. Post, at 118-119, n. eight. "Bell," JUSTICE STEVENS asserts, "held that we've jurisdiction to determine [whether the plaintiff has stated a cause of action] even if it is uncertain whether the plaintiff s injuries can be redressed." Post, at 118. The italicized phrase (the italics are his own) invitations the reader to consider that Article III redressability was at trouble. Not simplest is this now not actual, however the complete factor of Bell became that it isn't genuine. In Bell, which turned into decided before Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U. S. 388 (1971), the District Court had brushed off the case on jurisdictional grounds as it believed that (what we would now name) a Bivens action would now not lie. This Court held that the nonexistence of a purpose of motion turned into no right basis for a jurisdictional dismissal. Thus, the uncertainty about "whether or not the plaintiff s injuries can be redressed" to which JUSTICE STEVENS refers is virtually the uncertainty about whether a purpose of action existed-that is exactly what Bell holds now not to be an Article III "redressability" query. It could have been a unique matter if the comfort requested with the aid of the plaintiffs in Bell (money damages) might no longer have remedied their injury in fact; however it of course could. JUSTICE STEVENS used to apprehend the fundamental distinction among arguing no purpose of motion and arguing no Article III redressability, having written for the Court that the previous argument is "no longer squarely directed at jurisdiction itself, but instead at the existence of a treatment for the alleged violation of ... federal rights," which difficulty is " now not of the jurisdictional kind which the Court raises on its personal motion. Lake Country Estates, Inc. v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 440 U. S. 391, 398 (1979) (STEVENS, J.), (quoting Mt. Healthy Bd. of Ed. v. Doyle, 429 U. S., at 279).

    JUSTICE STEVENS additionally relies on National Railroad Passenger Corp. v. National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 414 U. S. 453 (1974). Post, at 119-a hundred and twenty. But in that case, we did not determine whether a cause of movement existed before de-


    97

    termining that the plaintiff had Article III status; there was no question of damage in fact or effectiveness of the requested remedy. Rather, National Railroad Passenger Corp. decided whether or not a statutory motive of motion existed before determining whether (if so) the plaintiff got here inside the "sector of interests" for which the purpose of action turned into available. 414 U. S., at 465, n. thirteen. The latter question is an trouble of statutory status. It has not anything to do with whether or not there is case or controversy below Article III. 2

    2JUSTICE STEVENS thinks it illogical that a merits question may be given precedence over a statutory standing query (National Railroad Passenger Corp.) and a statutory status question may be given priority over an Article III query (the instances discussed submit, at a hundred and fifteen-117), but a merits query can not receive priority over an Article III query. See post, at a hundred and twenty, n. 12. It seems to us no more illogical than many other "broken circles" that appear in lifestyles and the regulation: that Executive agreements may additionally displace kingdom law, for example, see United States v. Belmont, 301 U. S. 324, 330-331 (1937), and that unilateral Presidential action (renunciation) may also displace Executive agreements, does now not produce the "logical" conclusion that unilateral Presidential action may also displace kingdom regulation. The reasons for allowing merits inquiries to be determined earlier than statutory standing questions do no longer assist allowing merits inquiries to be decided before Article III questions. As National Railroad Passenger Corp. points out, the merits inquiry and the statutory standing inquiry often "overlap," 414 U. S., at 456. The question whether or not this plaintiff has a reason of action below the statute, and the question whether any plaintiff has a reason of action under the statute are closely connected-certainly, relying upon the asserted basis for lack of statutory standing, they may be every now and then same, so that it'd be exceptionally synthetic to draw a distinction between the 2. The equal cannot be stated of the Article III requirement of remediable injury in fact, which (besides in regards to totally frivolous claims) has nothing to do with the text of the statute relied upon. Moreover, deciding whether or not any reason of motion exists beneath a specific statute, in place of whether the specific plaintiff can sue, does not take the court into considerable, uncharted realms of judicial opinion giving; while the proposition that the court docket can attain a merits query whilst there may be no Article III jurisdiction opens the door to all kinds of "generalized grievances," Schlesinger v. Reservists Comm. to Stop the War, 418 U. S. 208, 217 (1974), that the Constitution leaves for decision thru the political process.


    ninety eight

    Much extra great defenses of the exercise of deciding the cause of movement before resolving Article III jurisdiction were provided with the aid of the Courts of Appeals. They depend principally upon cases of ours, Norton v. Mathews, 427 U. S. 524 (1976), and Secretary of Navy v. Avrech, 418 U. S. 676 (1974) (per curiam). Both are with ease defined, we suppose, by their excellent procedural postures. In Norton, the case came to us on direct enchantment from a three-judge District Court, and the jurisdictional question turned into whether the movement was nicely added in that forum rather than in an everyday district courtroom. We declined to determine that jurisdictional query, because the deserves question changed into determined in a associate case, Mathews v. Lucas, 427 U. S. 495 (1976), with the consequence that the jurisdictional question could don't have any effect at the outcome: If the three-judge court docket had been properly convened, we might have affirmed, and if no longer, we would have vacated and remanded for a fresh decree from which an appeal might be taken to the Court of Appeals, the outcome of which was foreordained through Lucas. Norton v. Mathews, supra, at 531. Thus, Norton did no longer use the pretermission of the jurisdictional query as a device for attaining a question of regulation that otherwise would have gone unaddressed. Moreover, the Court seems to have appeared the merits judgment that it entered on the premise of Lucas as equal to a jurisdictional dismissal for failure to offer a considerable federal query. The Court said: "This disposition [Lucas] renders the merits inside the gift case a decided trouble and as a result one no longer sizeable inside the jurisdictional experience." 427 U. S., at 530-531. We suppose it clean that this bizarre case, concerning a merits trouble dispositively resolved in a companion case, turned into not intended to overrule, sub silentio, centuries of jurisprudence maintaining the need of determining jurisdiction before intending to the deserves. See Glow, 948 F. 2nd, at 627 (O Scannlain, J., dissenting).

    Avrech additionally involved an instance in which an intervening Supreme Court selection definitively answered the deserves


    ninety nine

    query. The jurisdictional query inside the case have been raised with the aid of the Court sua sponte after oral argument, and supplemental briefing had been ordered. Secretary of Navy v. Avrech, supra, at 677. Before the Court got here to a decision, however, the deserves trouble inside the case had been conclusively resolved in Parker v. Levy, 417 U. S. 733 (1974), a case argued the equal day as Avrech. The Court become unwilling to decide the jurisdictional question with out oral argument, 418 U. S., at 677, but recounted (with some understatement) that "even the most diligent and zealous endorse may want to discover his ardor particularly dampened in arguing a jurisdictional issue in which the decision on the deserves is ... foreordained," id., at 678. Accordingly, the Court disposed of the case on the idea of the intervening decision in Parker, in a minimalist two-page in keeping with curiam opinion. The first aspect to be found about Avrech is that the supposed jurisdictional difficulty become technically no longer that. The issue became whether a courtmartial judgment might be attacked collaterally by a fit for backpay. Although Avrech, like the sooner case of United States v. Augenblick, 393 U. S. 348 (1969), characterised this question as jurisdictional, we later held squarely that it turned into no longer. See Schlesinger v. Councilman, 420 U. S. 738, 753 (1975). In any occasion, the odd occasions of Avrech hardly ever allow it to be referred to for the precedent-shattering wellknown proposition that an "easy" merits query may be determined on the idea of jurisdiction. To the contrary, the reality that the Court ordered briefing at the jurisdictional question sua sponte demonstrates its adherence to standard and constitutionally dictated necessities. See Cross-Sound Ferry Services, Inc. v. ICC, 934 F. second, at 344345, and n. 10 (Thomas, J., concurring in part and concurring in denial of petition for overview).

    Other cases every now and then stated by the lower courts to guide "hypothetical jurisdiction" are in addition distinguishable. United States v. Augenblick, as we've got discussed, did no longer involve a jurisdictional difficulty. In Philbrook v. Glodgett, 421 U. S. 707, 721 (1975), the jurisdictional query changed into whether or not,


    a hundred

    one hundred STEEL CO. v. CITIZENS FOR BETTER ENVIRONMENT

    in a fit below 28 U. S. C. § 1343(3) against the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Social Welfare for deprivation of federal rights beneath color of state law through denying bills below a federally funded welfare program, the plaintiff ought to join a comparable claim towards the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. The deserves trouble of statutory production involved within the claim towards the Secretary became exactly the same as that worried within the declare towards the Commissioner, and the Secretary (whilst challenging jurisdiction) confident the Court that he might follow any judgment entered towards the Commissioner. The Court s disposition of the case was to disregard the Secretary s attraction below what become then this Court s Rule 40(g), for failure to quick the jurisdictional question effectively. Normally, the Court recounted, its obligation to inquire into the jurisdiction of the District Court would possibly save you this disposition. But right here, the Court concluded, "the substantive difficulty determined by the District Court might had been decided via that courtroom despite the fact that it had concluded that the Secretary changed into no longer nicely a party," and "the best practical difference that resulted ... become that its injunction was directed towards him as well as in opposition to [the Commissioner]," which the Secretary "has [not] nicely contended to be wrongful before this Court." 421 U. S., at 721-722. And eventually, in Chandler v. Judicial Council of Tenth Circuit, 398 U. S. 74 (1970), we reserved the query whether we had jurisdiction to difficulty a writ of prohibition or mandamus due to the fact the petitioner had not exhausted all to be had avenues before looking for comfort underneath the All Writs Act, 28 U. S. C. § 1651, and because there was no document to study. 398 U. S., at 86-88. The exhaustion question itself become at the least arguably jurisdictional, and turned into truely treated as such. Id., at 86.3

    three JUSTICE STEVENS provides 3 instances to the listing of those that might help "hypothetical jurisdiction." Post, at 121-122, and n. 15. They are all inapposite. In Moor v. County of Alameda, 411 U. S. 693 (1973), we declined to decide whether or not a federal courtroom s pendent jurisdiction extended


    one hundred and one

    While some of the above cases need to be acknowledged to have diluted the absolute purity of the guideline that Article III jurisdiction is constantly an antecedent query, none of them even tactics approval of a doctrine of "hypothetical jurisdiction" that permits a courtroom to resolve contested questions of regulation whilst its jurisdiction is in doubt. Hypothetical jurisdiction produces not anything extra than a hypothetical judgment-which involves the same thing as an advisory opinion, disapproved by way of this Court from the start. Muskrat v. United States, 219 U. S. 346, 362 (1911); Hayburn s Case, 2 Dall. 409 (1792). Much greater than felony niceties are at stake right here. The statutory and (mainly) constitutional factors of jurisdiction are an crucial ingredient of separation and equilibration of powers, restraining the courts from acting at sure instances, and even restraining them from acting completely regarding positive subjects. See United States v. Richardson, 418 U. S. 166, 179 (1974); Schlesinger v. Reservists Comm. to Stop the War, 418 U. S. 208, 227 (1974). For a court docket to pronounce upon the that means or the constitutionality of a country or federal regulation when it has no ju-

    to kingdom-law claims in opposition to a new party, due to the fact we agreed with the District Court s discretionary declination of pendent jurisdiction. Id., at 715716. Thus, the case determined now not a deserves query before a jurisdictional query, however a discretionary jurisdictional query before a nondiscretionary jurisdictional question. Similarly in Ellis v. Dyson, 421 U. S. 426, 436 (1975), the "authoritative ground of choice" upon which the District Court relied in lieu of determining whether there has been a case or controversy was Younger abstention, which we have dealt with as jurisdictional. And finally, the difficulty pretermitted in Neese v. Southern R. Co., 350 U. S. 77 (1955) (in keeping with curiam), changed into no longer Article III jurisdiction at all, however the substantial question whether the Seventh Amendment lets in an appellate courtroom to study the district court s denial of a movement for brand spanking new trial at the floor that the verdict become excessive. We declined to consider that query due to the fact we agreed with the District Court s choice to deny the movement on the statistics within the document. The more numerous the appearance-alikebut-inapposite instances JUSTICE STEVENS cites, the extra strikingly clean it becomes: His concurrence can't pick out a unmarried opinion of ours deciding the merits earlier than a disputed question of Article III jurisdiction.


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    risdiction to accomplish that is, by way of very definition, for a courtroom to behave ultra vires.

    IV

    Having reached the cease of what seems like a protracted front walk, we sooner or later arrive at the edge jurisdictional query: whether or not respondent, the plaintiff beneath, has standing to sue. Article III, § 2, of the Constitution extends the "judicial Power" of america simplest to "Cases" and "Controversies." We have constantly taken this to intend cases and controversies of the kind traditionally amenable to, and resolved with the aid of, the judicial procedure. Muskrat v. United States, supra, at 356-357. Such a which means in all fairness implied via the text, seeing that otherwise the purported restrict upon the judicial electricity could scarcely be a restriction in any respect. Every crook investigation performed by means of the Executive is a "case," and each coverage difficulty resolved by means of congressional rules entails a "controversy." These aren't, but, the type of instances and controversies that Article III, § 2, refers to, given that "the Constitution s significant mechanism of separation of powers relies upon largely upon common understanding of what sports are appropriate to legislatures, to executives, and to courts." Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U. S. 555, 559-560 (1992). Standing to sue is a part of the common understanding of what it takes to make a justiciable case. Whitmore v. Arkansas, 495 U. S. 149, a hundred and fifty five (1990).four

    The "irreducible constitutional minimum of standing" includes three requirements. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife,

    four Our opinion isn't influenced, as JUSTICE STEVENS suggests, by means of the greater particular separation-of-powers issue that this citizen s match "by hook or by crook interferes with the Executive s energy to take Care that the Laws be faithfully done, Art. II, § three," submit, at 129. The courts have to stay inside their constitutionally prescribed sphere of motion, whether or not or now not exceeding that sphere will damage one of the other branches. This case requires not anything more than a straightforward application of our status jurisprudence, which, even though it can occasionally have an impact on Presidential powers, derives from Article III and now not Article II.


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    supra, at 560. First and foremost, there must be alleged (and in the long run proved) an "damage in fact"-a harm suffered by way of the plaintiff that is "concrete" and "actual or drawing close, no longer conjectural or hypothetical. " Whitmore v. Arkansas, supra, at 149, a hundred and fifty five (quoting Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U. S. 95, a hundred and one-102 (1983)). Second, there ought to be causation-a reasonably traceable connection among the plaintiff s injury and the complained-of conduct of the defendant. Simon v. Eastern Ky. Welfare Rights Organization, 426 U. S. 26, forty one-42 (1976). And third, there should be redressability-a chance that the requested relief will redress the alleged damage. Id., at forty five-46; see also Warth v. Seldin, 422 U. S. 490, 505 (1975). This triad of damage in fact, causation, and redressability five constitutes the core of Article Ill s case-or-

    five Contrary to JUSTICE STEVENS perception that redressability "is a judicial advent of the past 25 years," post, at 124, the concept has been ingrained in our jurisprudence from the beginning. Although we've packaged the requirements of constitutional "case" or "controversy" incredibly in another way inside the past 25 years-an era wealthy in 3-component checks-the point has always been the identical: whether a plaintiff "in my view could gain in a tangible manner from the court docket s intervention." Warth, 422 U. S., at 508. For instance, in Marye v. Parsons, 114 U. S. 325, 328-329 (1885), we held that a invoice in equity have to have been disregarded because it turned into a clear case of "damnum absque injuria." Although the complainant alleged a breach of contract through the State, the complainant "asks no alleviation as to that, for there is no remedy by means of match to compel the State to pay its debts .... The bill as framed, consequently, calls for a statement of an abstract person." Because courts do not "si[t] to determine questions of law in thesi," we remanded with directions to disregard the bill. Id., at 328-330.

    Also contrary to JUSTICE STEVENS unparalleled notion, submit, at a hundred twenty five, redress ability-just like the other prongs of the standing inquiry-does not depend on the defendant s reputation as a governmental entity. There isn't any workable cause why it have to. If it's miles actual, as JUSTICE STEVENS claims, that every one of the cases in which the Court has denied standing because of a loss of redressability happened to contain authorities motion or inaction, that could be unsurprising. Suits that promise no concrete benefit to the plaintiff, and which can be introduced to have us "decide questions of regulation in thesi," Marye, supra, at 330, are most often stimulated via the psychological smart of perceived reliable injustice, or via the government-policy


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    104 STEEL CO. v. CITIZENS FOR BETTER ENVIRONMENT

    controversy requirement, and the birthday party invoking federal jurisdiction bears the weight of organising its life. See FW/PBS, Inc. v. Dallas, 493 U. S. 215, 231 (1990).

    We flip now to the particulars of respondent s grievance to see the way it measures as much as Article Ill s requirements. This case is on enchantment from a Rule 12(b) movement to push aside on the pleadings, so we ought to presume that the overall allegations within the complaint embody the specific statistics essential to help those allegations. Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, 497 U. S. 871, 889 (1990). The grievance contains claims "on behalf of each [respondent] itself and its participants." 6 App.4. It describes respondent as an agency that seeks, uses, and acquires records pronounced underneath EPCRA. It says that respondent "reports to its individuals and the public approximately storage and releases of poisonous chemicals into the surroundings, advocates modifications in environmental rules and statutes, prepares reports for its participants and the general public, seeks the discount of poisonous chemicals and similarly seeks to sell the effective enforcement of environmentallaws." Id., at five. The grievance asserts that respondent s "right to realize approximately [toxic-chemical] releases and its interests in protecting and improving the surroundings and the fitness of its contributors had been, are being, and could be adversely tormented by [petitioner s] movements in failing to provide well timed and required records underneath EPCRA." Ibid. The criticism additionally alleges that respondent s individuals, who live in or common the vicinity close to petitioner s facility, use the EPCRA-pronounced information "to study

    alternatives of political activists. But the principle of redress capacity has broader software than that.

    6 EPCRA states that "any character may begin a civil action on his very own behalf .... " forty two U. S. C. § 11046(a)(1) (emphasis delivered). "[P]erson" includes an affiliation, see § 11049(7), so it's miles debatable that the statute allows respondent to vindicate only its very own hobbies as an organisation, and no longer the pursuits of its person members. Since it makes no distinction to our disposition of the case, we count on with out identifying that the hobbies of man or woman participants can be the basis of healthy.


    one hundred and five

    poisonous chemical releases, the usage of dangerous materials of their groups, to plan emergency preparedness within the occasion of injuries, and to try to reduce the toxic chemicals in regions wherein they live, work and visit." Ibid. The participants "safety, fitness, recreational, financial, aesthetic and environmental pastimes" in the facts, it is claimed, "were, are being, and may be adversely laid low with [petitioner s] movements in failing to record well timed and required reports underneath EPCRA." Ibid.

    As appears from the above, respondent asserts petitioner s failure to provide EPCRA data in a timely fashion, and the lingering consequences of that failure, because the injury in fact to itself and its individuals. We have not had event to determine whether or not being disadvantaged of statistics that is supposed to be disclosed underneath EPCRA-or as a minimum being disadvantaged of it whilst one has a specific plan for its use-is a concrete harm in truth that satisfies Article III. Cf. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U. S., at 578. And we want no longer attain that question inside the present case because, assuming harm in fact, the complaint fails the third test of status, redressability.

    The criticism asks for (1) a declaratory judgment that petitioner violated EPCRA; (2) authorization to check out periodically petitioner s facility and data (with costs borne via petitioner); (three) an order requiring petitioner to offer respondent copies of all compliance reviews submitted to the EPA; (four) an order requiring petitioner to pay civil consequences of $25,000 in keeping with day for every violation of §§ 11022 and 11023; (5) an award of all respondent s "prices, in connection with the investigation and prosecution of this be counted, such as reasonable legal professional and professional witness expenses, as legal by way of Section 326(f) of [EPCRA]"; and (6) one of these in addition remedy because the court deems appropriate. App. eleven. None of the precise gadgets of remedy sought, and none that we are able to envision as "appropriate" under the general request, would serve to reimburse respondent for losses as a result of the late re-


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    106 STEEL CO. v. CITIZENS FOR BETTER ENVIRONMENT

    porting, or to take away any outcomes of that overdue reporting upon respondent.7

    The first item, the request for a declaratory judgment that petitioner violated EPCRA, may be disposed of summarily. There being no controversy over whether or not petitioner did not document reports, or over whether or not any such failure constitutes a violation, the declaratory judgment is not best nugatory to respondent, it's miles seemingly nugatory to all of the world. See Lewis v. Continental Bank Corp., 494 U. S. 472, 479 (1990).

    Item (four), the civil consequences legal via the statute, see § 1l045(c), is probably viewed as a kind of reimbursement or redress to respondent if they had been payable to respondent. But they're no longer. These penalties-the handiest damages authorized via EPCRA-are payable to the US Treasury. In inquiring for them, consequently, respondent seeks now not remediation of its own harm-compensation for the costs it incurred due to the past due submitting-however vindication of the guideline of regulation-the "undifferentiated public hobby" in faithful execution of EPCRA. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, supra, at 577; see also Fairchild v. Hughes, 258 U. S. 126, 129-one hundred thirty (1922). This does no longer suffice. JUSTICE STEVENS thinks it is enough that respondent will be gratified via seeing petitioner punished for its infractions and that the

    7 JUSTICE STEVENS claims that redress capacity became discovered missing in our prior instances due to the fact the relaxation required movement by using a celebration not earlier than the Court. Post, at 125-126. Even if that were so, it might not prove that redressability is lacking simplest whilst alleviation depends at the movements of a third birthday celebration. But in any event, JUSTICE STEVENS has left out choices that damage his premise. See Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U. S. ninety five, one hundred and five (1983); O Shea v. Littleton, 414 U. S. 488, 495-496 (1974). He additionally seems to indicate that redressability always exists while the defendant has without delay injured the plaintiff. If that had been so, the redressability requirement could be totally superfluous, for the reason that causation requirement asks whether the damage is "fairly ... trace[able] to the challenged action of the defendant, and no longer ... thEe] resul[t] [of] the independent action of some 1/3 party no longer earlier than the courtroom." Simon v. Eastern Ky. Welfare Rights Organization, 426 U. S. 26, forty one-forty two (1976).


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    punishment will deter the hazard of destiny harm. Post, at 127-128. If that have been so, our holdings in Linda R. S. v. Richard D., 410 U. S. 614 (1973), and Simon v. Eastern Ky. Welfare Rights Organization, 426 U. S. 26 (1976), are inexplicable. Obviously, such a precept might make the redressability requirement vanish. By the mere bringing of his in shape, every plaintiff demonstrates his belief that a positive judgment will make him happier. But even though a suitor may derive extraordinary comfort and pleasure from the truth that america Treasury isn't cheated, that a wrongdoer receives his simply deserts, or that the Nation s legal guidelines are faithfully enforced, that psychic satisfaction isn't an appropriate Article III treatment as it does no longer redress a cognizable Article III harm. See, e. g., Allen v. Wright, 468 U. S. 737, 754-755 (1984); Valley Forge Christian College v. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Inc., 454 U. S. 464, 482483 (1982). Relief that does not treatment the harm suffered can not bootstrap a plaintiff into federal courtroom; this is the very essence of the redressability requirement.

    Item (5), the "investigation and prosecution" charges "as legal through Section 326(f)," could usually advantage respondent in place of the citizenry at huge. Obviously, but, a plaintiff can not acquire standing to litigate a major difficulty with the aid of bringing fit for the cost of bringing match. The litigation need to supply the plaintiff some different gain besides compensation of fees which might be a byproduct of the litigation itself. An "interest in lawyer s charges is ... insufficient to create an Article III case or controversy where none exists at the deserves of the underlying claim." Lewis v. Continental Bank Corp., supra, at 480 (citing Diamond v. Charles, 476 U. S. fifty four, 70-71 (1986)). Respondent asserts that the "investigation costs" it seeks had been incurred prior to the litigation, in digging up the emissions and garage facts that petitioner need to have filed, and that respondent needed for its own purposes. See Brief for Respondent 37-38. The healing of such fees unrelated


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    to litigation could assuredly support Article III status, but the trouble is that § 326(f), which is the entitlement to monetary alleviation that the criticism invokes, covers most effective the "prices of litigation." 8 § 11046(f). Respondent unearths itself, in other words, impaled upon the horns of a predicament: For the prices to be reimbursable underneath the statute, they have to be fees of litigation; but reimbursement of the prices of litigation can't alone support status.nine

    The last comfort respondent seeks (object (2), giving respondent authority to look into petitioner s facility and information, and object (3), compelling petitioner to provide respondent copies of EPA compliance reports) is injunctive in nature. It can't conceivably treatment any past wrong but is aimed toward deterring petitioner from violating EPCRA in the destiny. See Brief for Respondent 36. The latter objective can of course be "remedial" for Article III functions, when threatened injury is one of the gravamens of the criticism. If respondent had alleged a continuing violation or the imminence of a future violation, the injunctive comfort requested would remedy that alleged damage. But there's no such allegation here-and on the information of the case, there appears no foundation for it. Nothing helps the asked injunctive alleviation except respondent s generalized interest in deterrence,

    eight Section 326(f) reads: "The courtroom, in issuing any final order in any movement brought pursuant to this phase, can also award expenses of litigation (along with affordable legal professional and professional witness charges) to the winning or the extensively triumphing party on every occasion the courtroom determines such an award is appropriate." forty two U. S. C. § 1l046(f).

    9JUSTICE STEVENS contends, publish, at 123-124, n. sixteen, that this argument entails us in a construction of the statute, and consequently belies our insistence that jurisdictional problems be resolved first. It entails us in a creation of the statute only to the volume of rejecting as frivolous the competition that charges incurred for respondent s very own purposes, no longer in preparation for litigation (and hence sufficient to assist Article III status), are although "charges of litigation" beneath the statute. As we've described in advance, our instances make clean that frivolous claims are themselves a jurisdictional disorder. See supra, at 89.


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    that is insufficient for purposes of Article III. See Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U. S., at 111.

    The United States, as amicus curiae, argues that the injunctive relief does constitute remediation because "there is a presumption of [future] harm when the defendant has voluntarily ceased its unlawful activity in response to litigation," although that occurs before a grievance is filed. Brief for United States as Amicus Curiae 27-28, and n. eleven. This makes a sword out of a defend. The "presumption" the Government refers to has been carried out to refute the statement of mootness by means of a defendant who, whilst sued in a grievance that alleges gift or threatened damage, ceases the complained-of activity. See, e. g., United States v. W T. Grant Co., 345 U. S. 629, 632 (1953). It is a tremendous and unacceptable stretch to call the presumption into carrier instead for the allegation of gift or threatened damage upon which preliminary standing should be primarily based. See Los Angeles v. Lyons, supra, at 109. To accept the Government s view might be to overrule our clear precedent requiring that the allegations of future damage be unique and urban. O Shea v. Littleton, 414 U. S. 488, 496-497 (1974). "Past exposure to unlawful conduct does no longer in itself display a gift case or controversy concerning injunctive alleviation ... if unaccompanied by way of any continuing, present damaging consequences." Id., at 495-496; see also Renne v. Geary, 501 U. S. 312, 320 (1991) ("[T]he mootness exception for disputes able to repetition yet evading evaluation ... will not revive a dispute which became moot earlier than the movement began"). Because respondent alleges most effective beyond infractions of EPCRA, and now not a continuing violation or the chance of a future violation, injunctive comfort will now not redress its injury.

    ***

    Having discovered that none of the comfort sought with the aid of respondent would likely remedy its alleged damage in fact, we have to conclude that respondent lacks standing to maintain this fit,


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    and that we and the lower courts lack jurisdiction to entertain it. However applicable set off decision of the deserves EPCRA question can be, it is not as critical as looking at the constitutional limits set upon courts in our machine of separated powers. EPCRA will should watch for every other day.

    The judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded with commands to direct that the grievance be brushed off.

    It is so ordered.

    JUSTICE O CONNOR, with whom JUSTICE KENNEDY joins, concurring.

    I join the Court s opinion. I agree that our precedent helps the Court s protecting that respondent lacks Article III status because its injuries can't be redressed by means of a judgment that could, in impact, require only the charge of penalties to the US Treasury. As the Court notes, ante, at 108, had respondent alleged a persevering with or imminent violation of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA), forty two U. S. C. § 11046, the requested injunctive relief may well have redressed the asserted damage.

    I also believe the Court s declaration that federal courts should be certain of their jurisdiction earlier than achieving the merits of a case. As the Court acknowledges, however, numerous of our decisions "have diluted absolutely the purity of the rule that Article III jurisdiction is always an antecedent question." Ante, at a hundred and one. The opinion of the Court thoroughly describes why the assumption of jurisdiction became defensible in those instances, see ante, at 98-100, and why it is not in this situation, see ante, at ninety two-ninety three. I write one by one to be aware that, in my view, the Court s opinion need to now not be study as cataloging an exhaustive list of situations below which federal courts might also workout judgment in "reserv[ing] difficult questions of ... jurisdiction when the case rather


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    could be resolved at the merits in want of the equal celebration," Norton v. Mathews, 427 U. S. 524, 532 (1976).

    JUSTICE BREYER, concurring in part and concurring in the judgment.

    I believe the Court that the respondent in this case lacks Article III standing. I further agree that federal courts often, and usually need to, determine standing questions at the outset of a case. That order of decision (first jurisdiction then the deserves) facilitates better to restrict the use of the federal courts to the ones opposed disputes that Article III defines because the federal judiciary s business. But my qualifying words "regularly" and "usually" are critical. The Constitution, for my part, does now not require us to update the ones phrases with the word "continually." The Constitution does not impose a inflexible judicial "order of operations," when doing so might reason severe sensible problems.

    This Court has previously made clear that courts may "reserv[e] tough questions of ... jurisdiction when the case alternatively might be resolved on the merits in prefer of the equal party." Norton v. Mathews, 427 U. S. 524, 532 (1976). That rule makes theoretical sense, for the difficulty of the jurisdictional query makes affordable the court docket s jurisdictional assumption. And that rule makes sizeable practical sense. Whom does it help to have appellate judges spend their time and power difficult over the ideal solution to an intractable jurisdictional count, whilst (assuming an clean answer on the significant deserves) the identical party might win or lose regardless? More importantly, to insist upon a rigid "order of operations" in nowadays s global of federal-court caseloads that have grown pretty over a technology way useless postpone and consequent introduced value. See L. Mecham, Judicial Business of the US Courts: 1996 Report of the Director sixteen, 18, 23; Report of the Proceedings of the Judicial Conference of the US


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    106, a hundred and fifteen, 143 (1971) (indicating that between 1971 and 1996, annual appellate court caseloads improved from 132 to 311 instances filed according to judgeship, and district court caseloads increased from 341 to 490 cases filed in line with judgeship). It method a more bulky system. It thereby will increase, to at least a small diploma, the chance of the "justice behind schedule" which means "justice denied."

    For this purpose, I would now not make the regular sequence an absolute requirement. Nor, even though the case earlier than us is normal, not extremely good, might I surely reserve judgment about the matter. Ante, at 110-111 (O CONNOR, J., concurring). I consequently be part of only Parts I and IV of the Court s opinion.

    JUSTICE STEVENS, with whom JUSTICE SOUTER joins as to Parts I, III, and IV; and with whom JUSTICE GINSBURG joins as to Part III, concurring in the judgment.

    This case affords two questions: (1) whether the Emergency Planning and Community Right- To- Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA), 42 U. S. C. § 11001 et seq., confers federal jurisdiction over citizen suits for totally past violations; and (2) if so, whether respondent has status underneath Article III of the Constitution. The Court has elected to determine the constitutional query first and, in doing so, has created new constitutionallaw. Because it's miles continually prudent to avoid passing unnecessarily on an not sure constitutional question, see Ashwander v. TV A, 297 U. S. 288, 345-348 (1936) (Brandeis, J., concurring), the Court must answer the statutory query first. Moreover, due to the fact EPCRA, well construed, does now not confer jurisdiction over citizen suits for utterly past violations, the Court ought to go away the constitutional question for any other day.

    I

    The statutory problem in this example may be regarded in considered one of two methods: whether EPCRA confers "jurisdiction" over citizen suits for fully past violations, or whether or not the statute


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    creates such a "motive of movement." Under both evaluation, the Court has the strength to reply the statutory question first.

    EPCRA frames the query in phrases of "jurisdiction."

    Section 326(c) states:

    "The district courtroom shall have jurisdiction in actions brought beneath [§ 326(a)] against an proprietor or operator of a facility to put in force the requirement involved and to impose any civil penalty furnished for violation of that requirement." 42 U. S. C. § l1046(c).

    Thus, if § 326(a) authorizes citizen suits for completely beyond violations, the district court has jurisdiction over these moves; if it does not, the courtroom lacks jurisdiction.

    Given the text of the statute, it is not sudden that the parties and the District Court framed the question in jurisdictional phrases. Respondent s complaint alleged that the District Court had "situation remember jurisdiction under Section 326(a) of EPCRA, 42 U. S. C. § l1046(a)." App. three. The deserves questions that were raised with the aid of respondent s grievance had been whether or not Steel Company violated EPCRA and, in that case, what comfort must be granted. The District Court, but, made no ruling on the merits while it granted Steel Company s motion to disregard. It held that dismissal turned into required because respondent had merely alleged "a failure to timely record the desired reports, a contravention of the Act for which there may be no jurisdiction for a citizen match." App. to Pet. for Cert. A26.1 Steel Company has additionally framed the

    1 See also Don t Waste Arizona, Inc. v. McLane Foods, Inc., 950 F. Supp. 972, 977-978 (Ariz. 1997) ("[T]his Court has jurisdiction to hear this citizen fit added pursuant to forty two U. S. C. § 11046(a) for a completely beyond violation of the EPCRA"); Delaware Valley Toxics Coalition v. Kurz-Hastings, 813 F. Supp. 1132, 1141 (ED Pa. 1993) ("This court docket concludes that forty two U. S. C. § 11046(a)(1) does provide the federal courts with jurisdiction for fully past violations of the EPCRA"); Atlantic States Legal Foundation v. Whiting Roll-Up Door Manufacturing Corp., 772 F. Supp. 745, 750 (WDNY 1991) ("The simple language of EPCRA s reporting, enforcement and civil penalty provisions, when logically viewed collectively, compel a con-


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    question as a jurisdictional one in its briefs before this Court.2

    The threshold trouble concerning the that means of § 326 is actually same to the query that we decided in Gwaltney of Smithfield, Ltd. v. Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Inc., 484 U. S. 49 (1987). In that case, we considered whether or not § 505(a) of the Clean Water Act permits fits for fully past violations.3 We unanimously characterised that query as a remember of "jurisdiction":

    "In this situation, we should determine whether § 505(a) of the Clean Water Act, additionally known as the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, 33 U. S. C. § 1365(a), confers federal jurisdiction over citizen suits for totally past violations." Id., at 52.

    See also Block v. Community Nutrition Institute, 467 U. S. 340, 353, n. four (1984) (mentioning National Railroad Passenger Corp. v. National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 414 U. S. 453, 456, 465, n. 13 (1974)). If we solve the comparable statutory problem within the identical way in this case, federal courts will haven't any jurisdiction to deal with the deserves in future comparable instances. Thus, this isn't a case wherein the selection between resolving the statutory query or the status question first is a choice among a deserves difficulty and a juris-

    elusion that EPCRA confers federal jurisdiction over citizen complaints for past violations").

    2 Brief for Petitioner 12 ("A statute conferring jurisdiction at the federal courts should ... be strictly construed, and any doubts resolved in opposition to jurisdiction. Here there are severe doubts that Congress supposed residents to sue for beyond EPCRA violations, and all citizen plaintiffs can spotlight is a moderate difference in language and try to stretch that difference into federal jurisdiction"); see additionally id., at 26, 30.

    3 Gwaltney contended that "due to the fact its remaining recorded violation occurred several weeks earlier than respondents filed their criticism, the District Court lacked difficulty-remember jurisdiction over respondents action." Gwaltney, 484 U. S., at 55.


    a hundred and fifteen

    dictional problem; instead, it's far a choice among jurisdictional troubles.

    We have routinely held that after supplied with two jurisdictional questions, the Court may additionally pick out which one to reply first. In Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U. S. 727 (1972), as an example, we were offered with a desire among a statutory jurisdictional question and a query of Article III status. In that case, the USA, as respondent, argued that petitioner lacked status under the Administrative Procedure Act and below the Constitution.four Rather than taking on the constitutional issue, the Court stated:

    "Where ... Congress has legal public officials to perform certain functions according to regulation, and has provided via statute for judicial evaluate of those moves below positive occasions, the inquiry as to standing have to begin with a dedication of whether or not the statute in query authorizes evaluate on the behest of the plaintiff" Id., at 732 (emphasis brought).

    The Court concluded that petitioner lacked status underneath the statute, identity., at 732-741, and, consequently, did no longer want to

    4405 U. S., at 753-755 (App. to opinion of Douglas, J., dissenting) (Extract from Oral Argument of the Solicitor General); Brief for Respondent in Sierra Club v. Morton, O. T. 1970, No. 70-34, p. 18 ("The irreducible minimum requirement of status reflects the constitutional quandary of judicial strength to Cases and Controversies - whether the party invoking federal court jurisdiction has "a personal stake within the outcome of the talk" ... and whether or not the dispute touches upon the "prison relations of events having damaging criminal interests." , Flast v. Cohen, 392 U. S. 83, one hundred and one [(1968)]"); see additionally Brief for County of Tulare as Amicus Curiae in Sierra Club v. Morton, O. T. 1970, No. 70-34, pp. 13-14 ("This Court lengthy ago held that to have standing ... a celebration must display he has sustained or is straight away in chance of sustaining some direct injury ... and now not simply that he suffers in a few indefinite way in common with people commonly. This is an outgrowth of Article III of the Constitution which limits the jurisdiction of federal courts to instances and controversies. U. S. Const., artwork. III, § 2" (citation and internal quotation marks ignored)).


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    STEVENS, J., concurring in judgment

    decide whether or not petitioner had suffered a sufficient harm underneath Article III.

    Similarly, in Block v. Community Nutrition Institute, 467 U. S. 340 (1984), the Court changed into faced with a choice between a statutory jurisdictional issue and a question of Article III status. The Court of Appeals had held that the respondents had status beneath each the statute and the Constitution. 698 F.second 1239, 1244-1252 (CADC 1983). On writ of certiorari to this Court, the United States, as petitioner, argued each issues: that the respondents did not come inside the "zone of pursuits" of the statute, and they did now not have status beneath Article III of the Constitution.five A unanimous Court bypassed the constitutional standing query with a view to decide the statutory question. It therefore construed the statute, and concluded that respondents could not deliver match below the statute. The only point out of the constitutional query came in a footnote at the end of the opinion: "Since congressional preclusion of judicial overview is in effect jurisdictional, we need no longer address the standing problem decided through the Court of Appeals in this situation." Block, 467 U. S., at 353, n. four (bringing up National Railroad Passenger Corp., 414 U. S., at 456, 465, and n. 13).

    Finally, in Gladstone, Realtors v. Village of Bellwood, 441 U. S. ninety one (1979), we were also confronted with a preference between a statutory and constitutional jurisdictional query. Id., at ninety three ("This case affords both statutory and constitutional questions concerning status to sue under Title VIII"). The statutory query turned into whether respondents had status to sue underneath § 812 of the Fair Housing Act. The Court,

    5 Brief for Petitioners in Block v. Community Nutrition Institute, O. T. 1983, No. 83-458, pp. 32-50 (arguing that respondents did not meet the damage-in-fact and redressability requirements of Article III); see also Brief for Respondents in Block v. Community Nutrition Institute, O. T. 1983, No. 83-458, pp. 17-28; Reply Brief for Petitioners in Block v. Community Nutrition Institute, O. T. 1983, No. 83-458, pp. 15-17.


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    reluctant to address the constitutional question, opted to decide the statutory question first for you to keep away from the constitutional query if viable:

    "The trouble [of the meaning of § 812] is a critical one, for if the District Court efficaciously understood and implemented § 812 [in denying respondents standing under the statute], we do no longer reach the question whether or not the minimum requirements of Art. III have been happy. If the Court of Appeals is correct [in holding that respondents have statutory standing], but, then the constitutional query is squarely offered." Id., at one zero one.

    See also Bennett v. Spear, 520 U. S. 154, 164 (1997) (footnote disregarded) (opinion of SCALIA, J.) (stating that "[t]he first question within the gift case is whether the [Endangered Species Act s] citizen-in shape provision ... negates the quarter-of-hobbies take a look at," and turning to the constitutional standing question handiest after figuring out that status existed below the statute); Food and Commercial Workers v. Brown Group, Inc., 517 U. S. 544, 548-550 (1996) (reading the statutory question before turning to the constitutional status question); Cross-Sound Ferry Services, Inc. v. ICC, 934 F.second 327, 341 (CADC 1991) (Thomas, J., concurring in element and concurring in denial of petition for evaluation) (courts exceed the scope in their energy "best if the ground passed over is jurisdictional and the floor rested upon is non-jurisdictional, for courts properly relaxation on one jurisdictional floor rather than another"). Thus, our precedents genuinely help the proposition that, given a preference among jurisdictional questions-one statutory and the opposite constitutional-the Court has the electricity to reply the statutory query first.

    Rather than framing the query in terms of "jurisdiction," it is also possible to symbolize the statutory issue in this situation as whether respondent s grievance states a "cause


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    of action." 6 Framed this manner, it's also clean that we have the electricity to determine the statutory query first. As our keeping in Bell v. Hood, 327 U. S. 678, 681-685 (1946), demonstrates, just as a courtroom constantly has jurisdiction to determine its very own jurisdiction, United States v. Mine Workers, 330 U. S. 258,290 (1947), a federal court docket also has jurisdiction to determine whether or not a plaintiff who alleges that she has been injured by way of a violation of federal law has said a reason of motion.7 Indeed, Bell held that we've jurisdiction to decide this query even when it's miles unclear whether the plaintiff s accidents may be redressed.s Thus, Bell demonstrates that the Court

    6 As Justice Cardozo said, " "motive of action" may suggest one factor for one purpose and some thing one of a kind for every other. Davis v. Passman, 442 U. S. 228, 237 (1979) (quoting United States v. Memphis Cotton Oil Co., 288 U. S. 62, sixty seven-sixty eight (1933)). Under one that means of the time period, it's far clear that residents have a "purpose of action" to sue underneath the statute. Under that that means, "motive of movement is a question of whether or not a selected plaintiff is a member of the magnificence of litigants that could, as a count number of regulation, appropriately invoke the electricity of the court." Davis, 442 U. S., at 240, and n. 18 (emphasis deleted); see additionally identity., at 239 ("The concept of a motive of action is hired specifically to decide who can also judicially put into effect the statutory rights or responsibilities" (emphasis added)). Since EPCRA expressly gives residents the proper to sue, 42 U. S. C. § 11046(a)(1), there may be no question that residents are "member[s] of the magnificence of litigants which could, as a rely of regulation, appropriately invoke the power of the court," Davis, 442 U. S., at 240, and n. 18.

    7"Jurisdiction ... is not defeated ... by the opportunity that the averments may fail to kingdom a motive of movement on which petitioners may want to absolutely recover." Bell, 327 U. S., at 682.

    eight In Bell, a precursor to Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U. S. 388 (1971), petitioners delivered healthy in federal court "to recover damages in excess of $three,000 from ... sellers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation" for allegedly violating their Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. 327 U. S., at 679. The query whether petitioners injuries had been redressable-"whether federal courts can furnish cash recovery for damages said to had been suffered because of federal officials violating the Fourth and Fifth Amendments"-was an open one, id., at 684 (which the Court did not determine till Bivens, 403 U. S., at 389). Nonetheless,


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    has the power to determine whether a motive of movement exists even if it's miles unclear whether or not the plaintiff has standing.nine

    National Railroad Passenger Corp. also makes it clean that we've got the energy to decide this question earlier than addressing different threshold issues. In that case, we have been faced with the interrelated questions of "whether or not the Amtrak Act can be read to create a non-public right of motion to implement compliance with its provisions; whether or not a federal district court docket has jurisdiction underneath the terms of the Act to entertain the sort of healthy [under 28 U. s. C. § 13371°]; and whether or not respondent has [statutory] standing to carry such a healthy." 414 U. S., at 455-456. In selecting its technique of analysis, the Court stated:

    although it become unclear whether or not there was a remedy, the Court held that federal courts have jurisdiction to determine whether or not a reason of movement exists. 327 U. S., at 685.

    9 The Court incorrectly states that I "used to understand the fundamental distinction between arguing no motive of movement and arguing no Article III redressability," ante, at 96. The Court gives me an excessive amount of credit score. I have in no way understood any fundamental distinction among arguing: (1) plaintiff s grievance does no longer allege a cause of movement because the law does "now not offer a remedy" for the plaintiff s injury; and (2) plaintiff s harm is "no longer redressable." In Lake Country Estates, Inc. v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 440 U. S. 391, 398 (1979), we said that the absence of a remedy, i. e., the shortage of redress potential, was now not the kind of jurisdictional problem that the Court raises on its very own movement. That became the regulation whilst that case was determined, and it would nonetheless be the regulation today if the Court had not supplemented the standing analysis set forth in Baker v. Carr, 369 U. S. 186, 204 (1962), with its modern fascination with "redressability." What has modified isn't the admittedly imperfect state of my knowledge, but alternatively the country of the Court s status doctrine.

    10 Section 1337 states, in applicable component: "[D]istrict courts shall have authentic jurisdiction of any civil motion or intending arising under any Act of Congress regulating commerce or protecting change and trade in opposition to restraints and monopolies." 28 U. S. C. § 1337(a); see additionally Potomac Passengers Assn. v. Chesapeake & Ohio R. Co., 475 F.2d 325, 339 (CADC 1973), rev d on different grounds, National Railroad Passenger Corp. v. National Assn. of Railroad Passengers, 414 U. S. 453 (1974).


    a hundred and twenty

    120 STEEL CO. v. CITIZENS FOR BETTER ENVIRONMENT

    STEVENS, J., concurring in judgment

    "[H]owever phrased, the threshold question clearly is whether or not the Amtrak Act or some other provision of law creates a reason of action wherein a personal celebration such as the respondent can put in force duties and duties imposed by means of the Act; for it's miles only if one of these right of movement exists that we want take into account whether or not the respondent had standing to bring the movement and whether or not the District Court had jurisdiction to entertain it." Id., at 456 (emphasis added).l1

    After figuring out that there has been no reason of action underneath the statute, the Court concluded: "Since we maintain that no right of action exists, questions of status and jurisdiction grow to be immaterial." Id., at 465, n. 13.12

    Thus, no matter whether or not we represent this problem in phrases of "jurisdiction" or "reasons of movement," the Court surely has the strength to cope with the statutory question first. Gwaltney itself powerfully demonstrates this point. As mentioned, that case involved a statutory question definitely same to the only provided right here-whether or not the statute permitted residents to sue for utterly beyond violations. While the Court framed the question as one in all "jurisdiction," supra, at 114, it can additionally be said that the case provided the question whether or not the plaintiffs had a "purpose of movement." Regardless of the label, the Court resolved the statutory question with out pausing to consider whether the plaintiffs had status

    eleven The Court outstanding this "threshold question" from respondent s declare "on the merits," identification., at 455, n. three.

    12 In insisting that the Article III standing question need to be replied first, the Court finds itself in a logical predicament. For if "A" (whether or not a motive of action exists) can be determined before "B" (whether or not there is statutory standing), identity., at 456, 465, n. thirteen; and if "B" (whether there's statutory standing) can be determined earlier than "C" (whether or not there is Article III standing), e. g., Block v. Community Nutrition Institute, 467 U. S. 340, 353, n. 4 (1984); then good judgment dictates that "A" (whether a motive of action exists) can be determined before "C" (whether there's Article III standing)-exactly the issue of this case.


    121

    to sue for completely past violations.13 Of route, the fact that we did now not discuss standing in Gwaltney does no longer set up that the plaintiffs had status there. Nonetheless, it supports the proposition that-regardless of how the problem is characterised-the Court has the strength to address the truely same statutory query in this case as properly.

    The Court disagrees, arguing that the status query must be addressed first. Ironically, however, before "first" addressing status, the Court takes a protracted tour that entirely loses sight of the simple purpose why standing is an issue of such significance to the proper functioning of the judicial system. The "gist of the query of status" is whether or not plaintiffs have "alleged the sort of non-public stake within the final results of the controversy as to guarantee that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of troubles upon which the court docket so largely depends for illumination of tough constitutional questions." 14 The Court completely disregards this center reason of status in its discussion of "hypothetical jurisdiction." Not best is that portion of the Court s opinion pure dictum because it is completely useless to an explanation of the Court s selection; it is also not informed by means of any adversary submission by means of both celebration. Neither the subject of "hypothetical jurisdiction," nor any of the cases analyzed, prominent, and criticized in Part III, changed into the situation of any remark in any of the briefs submitted by way of the parties or their amici. It consequently did not benefit from the "concrete adverseness" that the standing doctrine is meant to ensure. The discussion, in short, "comes

    thirteen In Gwaltney, similarly to answering the question whether or not the statute confers jurisdiction over citizen suits for fully beyond violations, we taken into consideration whether or not the allegation of ongoing damage sufficed to support jurisdiction. The fact that we mentioned "status" in reference to that secondary difficulty, 484 U. S., at 65-66, provides significance to the omission of even a passing reference to any status trouble in connection with the predominant retaining.

    14 Baker v. Carr, 369 U. S., at 204.


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    to the equal component as an advisory opinion, disapproved through this Court from the beginning." Ante, at 101; see also Muskrat v. United States, 219 U. S. 346, 362 (1911) (stressing that Article III limits federal courts to "deciding cases or controversies arising among opposing events").15

    15 The Court boldly distinguishes away no fewer than five of our precedents. In each of those five cases, the Court prevented determining a jurisdictional trouble with the aid of assuming that jurisdiction existed for the cause of that case. In Norton v. Mathews, 427 U. S. 524, 532 (1976), as an instance, we said:

    "It ... is evident that, whichever disposition we adopt, the impact is the equal. It follows that there's no need to determine the theoretical query of jurisdiction in this situation. In the beyond, we in addition have reserved hard questions of our jurisdiction when the case as an alternative may be resolved at the deserves in prefer of the identical birthday party. See Secretary of the Navy v. Avrech, 418 U. S. 676 (1974). The Court has accomplished this even when the original purpose for granting certiorari changed into to solve the jurisdictional trouble. See United States v. Augenblick, 393 U. S. 348,349352 (1969) .... Making the assumption, then, with out finding out, that our jurisdiction on this motive is mounted, we confirm the judgment in choose of the Secretary .... "

    See additionally Philbrook v. Glodgett, 421 U. S. 707, 720-722 (1975) (opinion of REHNQUIST, J.) (declining to attain "diffused and complicated" jurisdictional difficulty and assuming that jurisdiction existed); Secretary of Navy v. Avrech, 418 U. S. 676, 677-678 (1974) (according to curiam) ("[a]ssuming, arguendo, that the District Court had jurisdiction"; leaving "to a future case the resolution of the jurisdictional trouble"); Chandler v. Judicial Council of Tenth Circuit, 398 U. S. 74,89 (1970) ( Whether the Council s movement became administrative motion no longer reviewable on this Court, or whether it is reviewable here, it appears that evidently petitioner has no longer made a case for the extraordinary comfort of mandamus or prohibition"); United States v. Augenblick, 393 U. S. 348, 351-352 (1969) (assuming, arguendo, that jurisdiction existed).

    Moreover, similarly to the five instances that the Court distinguishes, there are other instances that help the notion that a court docket can expect jurisdiction. See, e. g., Moor v. County of Alameda, 411 U. S. 693, 715 (1973) ( Whether there exists judicial strength to pay attention the nation law claims in opposition to the County is, in quick, a diffused and complex query with farreaching implications. But we do now not bear in mind it suitable to resolve this hard issue inside the gift case, for we've got concluded that even assuming, arguendo, the existence of electricity to hear the declare, the District Court [did not err]"); Neese v. Southern R. Co., 350 U. S. seventy seven (1955) (consistent with


    123

    The doctrine of "hypothetical jurisdiction" is irrelevant due to the fact this example affords us with a desire among threshold questions which might be intricately interrelated-as there may be only a status trouble if the statute confers jurisdiction over fits for absolutely beyond violations. The Court s opinion displays this truth, as its evaluation of the status issue is predicated at the hypothesis that § 326 may be examine to confer jurisdiction over citizen suits for fully past violations. If, as I think it have to, the Court have been to reject that hypothesis and construe § 326,sixteen the status dialogue

    curiam) ("We reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals without accomplishing the constitutional assignment to that courtroom s jurisdiction .... Even assuming such appellate power to exist ... , [the Court of Appeals erred]"); see also Ellis v. Dyson, 421 U. S. 426, 436 (1975) (REHNQUIST, J., concurring) ("While it might were extra in step with traditional adjudication had [the District Court] first inquired as to the lifestyles of a case or controversy, ... I cannot fault the District Court for doing away with the case on what it quite well seemed at that time as an authoritative ground of choice. Indeed, this Court has occasionally accompanied essentially the identical exercise").

    Because this situation includes a choice between threshold questions that are intricately interrelated, I do not take a function at the propriety of courts assuming jurisdiction. Nonetheless, I strongly disagree with the Court s selection to reach out and decide this query, in particular in light of the fact that we've got now not had the gain of briefing and argument. See Philbrook, 421 U. S., at 721 (opinion of REHNQUIST, J.) (declining to answer a "complicated query of federal jurisdiction" because of "the absence of widespread aid from the briefs of both of the parties"); Avrech, 418 U. S., at 677 ("Without the advantage of further oral argument, we are unwilling to decide the hard jurisdictional difficulty which the events have briefed"); ante, at ninety nine (noting that the Avrech Court "changed into unwilling to decide the jurisdictional query with out oral argument" and emphasizing the importance of zealous advocacy to sharpen issues).

    16 Indeed, the Court acknowledges-as it ought to-that the Court has the strength to construe the statute, as it's miles impossible to remedy the status difficulty with out construing some provisions of EPCRA. Thus, which will determine whether respondent s investigation and prosecution charges are enough to confer status, the Court construes § 326(f) of EPCRA, which authorizes the district courtroom to "award expenses of litigation" to the prevailing birthday celebration. Ante, at 107-108. Yet if §326(f) were construed to


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    would be completely useless. Thus, paradoxically, the Court is engaged in a version of the "hypothetical jurisdiction" that it has taken pains to condemn at a few duration.

    II

    There is an vital reason for addressing the statutory question first: to avoid unnecessarily passing on an not sure constitutional query. New York Transit Authority v. Beazer, 440 U. S. 568, 582-583 (1979); Ashwander v. TV A, 297 U. S. 288, 345-348 (1936) (Brandeis, J., concurring).17 Whether accurate or wrong, the Court s constitutional holding represents a extensive extension of prior case law.

    The Court s conclusion that respondent does now not have standing comes from a mechanistic application of the "redressability" thing of our standing doctrine. "Redressability," of direction, does no longer seem anywhere within the textual content of the Constitution. Instead, it is a judicial advent of the beyond 25 years, see Simon v. Eastern Ky. Welfare Rights Organization, 426 U. S. 26, 38, 41-46 (1976); Linda R. S. v. Richard D., 410 U. S. 614, 617-618 (1973)-a judicial interpretation of the "Case" requirement of Article III, Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U. S. 555, 559-561 (1992).18

    cowl the value of the investigation that preceded the filing of respondent s criticism, even underneath the Court s reasoning respondent could have alleged a "redress able" damage and might have status. See ibid.

    17There are different motives that counsel in prefer of answering the statutory question first. First, it is the statutory query that has divided the courts of appeals and that we granted certiorari to clear up. See Pet. for Cert. i. Second, the which means of the statute is a matter of general and countrywide importance, whereas the Court s answer to the constitutional question depends in large part on a creation of the allegations of this specific criticism, ante, at 104 ("We turn now to the particulars of respondent s complaint to peer how it measures up to Article Ill s necessities").

    18 In an try and reveal that redressability has continually been a aspect of the standing doctrine, the Court cites our selection in Marye v. Parsons, 114 U. S. 325 (1885), a case in which neither the word "standing" nor the word "redressability" seems.


    125

    In every previous case in which the Court has denied status due to a loss of redressability, the plaintiff was hard a few governmental movement or inactivity. Leeke v. Timmerman, 454 U. S. 83, 85-87 (1981) (in step with curiam) (healthy in opposition to Director of the Department of Corrections and some other prison reputable); Simon, 426 U. S., at 28 (match towards the Secretary of the Treasury and the Commissioner of Internal Revenue); Warth v. Seldin, 422 U. S. 490, 493 (1975) (suit in opposition to the city of Penfield and participants of Penfield s Zoning, Planning, and Town Boards); Linda R. S., 410 U. S., at 615-616, 619 (fit against prosecutor); see also Renne v. Geary, 501 U. S. 312, 314 (1991) (fit towards the city and County of San Francisco, its board of supervisors, and other localofficials).19 None of those cases concerned an try by one personal party to impose a statutory sanction on every other non-public celebration.20

    In addition, in every different case in which this Court has held that there may be no status due to a lack of redressability, the harm to the plaintiff by the defendant became indirect (e. g., depending on the motion of a third party). This is actual inside the cases that the Court cites for the "redressability" prong, ante, at 103; see additionally Simon, 426 U. S., at forty-46 ("[T]he case or controversy predicament of Art. III ... calls for that a federal courtroom act only to redress injury that pretty can be traced to the challenged movement of the defendant,

    19 Although the Court mentioned redressability, Renne did no longer in reality switch on that trouble. While the Court stated that "[t]right here is cause to doubt ... that the damage alleged ... may be redressed" with the aid of the comfort sought, 501 U. S., at 319, it then went on to preserve that the claims had been nonjusticiable due to the fact "respondents have not verified a live controversy ripe for decision via the federal courts," identification., at 315, 320-324.

    20 This difference is full-size, as our standing doctrine is rooted in separation-of-powers issues. E. g., Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U. S. 555, 573-578 (1992); Allen v. Wright, 468 U. S. 737, 750 (1984); see also infra, at 129-one hundred thirty.


    126

    126 STEEL CO. v. CITIZENS FOR BETTER ENVIRONMENT

    STEVENS, J., concurring in judgment

    and now not injury that effects from the independent movement of a few 1/3 party now not before the courtroom" (emphasis added)); Warth, 422 U. S., at 504-508 (declaring that "the indirectness of the injury ... might also make it substantially extra hard to fulfill the minimum requirement of Art. III," and maintaining that the harm at issue turned into too indirect to be redressable), as well as in each different case wherein the Court denied standing due to a lack of redressability, Leeke, 454 U. S., at 86-87 (injury indirect as it grew to become at the action of a prosecutor, a celebration not before the Court); Linda R. S., 410 U. S., at 617-618 (mentioning that "[t]he birthday celebration who invokes [judicial] electricity have to have the ability to expose ... that he has sustained or is right away in danger of sustaining a few direct harm" (emphasis in unique) (internal quotation marks overlooked); damage indirect because it grew to become at the motion of the daddy, a party now not earlier than the Court); see additionally 3 K. Davis & R. Pierce, Administrative Law Treatise 30 (3d ed. 1994).21 Thus, as some distance as I am aware, the Court has in no way held-until nowadays-that a plaintiff who is immediately injured 22 by using a defendant lacks standing to sue due to a lack of redressability.23

    21 "It is a longtime precept that to entitle a non-public person to invoke the judicial power to decide the validity of government or legislative action he should display that he has sustained or is without delay in chance of sustaining a direct harm because the result of that motion .... " Ex parte Levitt, 302 U. S. 633, 634 (1937).

    22 Assuming that EPCRA authorizes suits for totally beyond violations, then Congress has created a felony right in having EPCRA reviews filed on time. Although this is not a traditional harm:

    "[W]e have to be sensitive to the articulation of recent rights of motion that don't have clean analogs in our not unusual-regulation subculture .... Congress has the power to outline injuries and articulate chains of causation so as to deliver rise to a case or controversy where none existed earlier than .... " Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U. S., at 580 (KENNEDY, J., concurring in component and concurring in judgment); see additionally Havens Realty Corp. v. Coleman, 455 U. S. 363, 373-374 (1982); Warth v. Seldin, 422 U. S. 490, 500 (1975).

    23 In every other context, the Court has precise that there is a important difference among whether a defendant is at once or in a roundabout way harmed. In Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, a case concerning a venture to Executive action, the Court stated:


    127

    The Court recognizes that respondent would have had standing if Congress had legal a few fee to respondent. Ante, at 106 ("[T]he civil penalties authorized by using the statute ... is probably viewed as a form of compensation or redress to respondent in the event that they had been payable to respondent"). Yet the Court fails to specify why price to respondenteven if most effective a peppercorn-could redress respondent s accidents, at the same time as charge to the Treasury does no longer. Respondent genuinely believes that the punishment of Steel Company, along side destiny deterrence of Steel Company and others, redresses its injury, and there is no foundation in our preceding standing holdings to suggest otherwise.

    When one private birthday party is injured by using every other, the injury can be redressed in at the least approaches: by means of awarding compensatory damages or by means of enforcing a sanction at the wrongdoer so one can decrease the danger that the damage-causing behavior might be repeated. Thus, in some cases a tort is redressed by an award of punitive damages; even when such damages are payable to the sovereign, they offer a shape of redress for the man or woman as well.

    History supports the proposition that punishment or deterrence can redress an harm. In past centuries in England,24 inside the American Colonies, and inside the United

    When the healthy is one tough the legality of government motion or inactivity, the nature and extent of records that have to be averred (on the summary judgment level) or proved (at the trial stage) so as to set up status relies upon substantially upon whether or not the plaintiff is himself an object of the motion (or forgone movement) at issue. If he is, there's by and large little question that the motion or inactiveness has brought on him damage, and that a judgment preventing or requiring the movement will redress it. When, however, as in this case, a plaintiff s asserted damage arises from the authorities s allegedly illegal regulation (or lack of law) of a person else, a good deal extra is needed. In that condition, causation and redressability generally hinge at the reaction of the regulated (or regulable) 1/3 birthday celebration to the authorities movement or state of being inactive-and perhaps on the response of others as nicely." 504 U. S., at 561-562 (emphasis in original).

    24 "Several students have attempted to trace the historical origins of personal prosecution inside the United States. Without exception, those pupils have determined that the perception of private prosecutions originated in


    128

    128 STEEL CO. v. CITIZENS FOR BETTER ENVIRONMENT

    STEVENS, J., concurring in judgment

    States,25 private men and women regularly prosecuted criminal instances. The hobby in punishing the defendant and deterring violations of regulation by way of the defendant and others become enough to aid the "status" of the non-public prosecutor although the only treatment become the sentencing of the defendant to jail or to the gallows. Given this records, the Framers of Article III virtually could have taken into consideration such court cases to be "Cases" that could "redress" an injury even though the birthday party bringing match did not acquire any financial repayment.26

    The Court s extended interpretation of the redressability requirement has every other effect. Under EPCRA,

    early commonplace law England, in which the prison device primarily relied upon the victim or the victim s loved ones or buddies to deliver a criminal to justice. According to these historians, personal prosecutions evolved in England as a way of facilitating non-public vengeance." Bessler, The Public Interest and the Unconstitutionality of Private Prosecutors, forty seven Ark. L. Rev. 511, 515 (1994) (footnotes neglected).

    25 "American residents endured to privately prosecute criminal cases in lots of locales throughout the nineteenth century. In Philadelphia, for example, all types of instances have been privately prosecuted, with assault and battery prosecutions being the maximum common. However, domestic disputes short of assault additionally got here earlier than the court. Thus, parents of young women prosecuted guys for seduction; husbands prosecuted their wives paramours for adultery; wives prosecuted their husbands for desertion. Although many state courts continued to sanction the exercise of personal prosecutions with out enormous scrutiny for the duration of the nineteenth century, a few country courts outlawed the practice." Id., at 518-519 (footnotes unnoticed); A. Steinberg, The Transformation of Criminal Justice: Philadelphia, 1800-1880, p. five (1989) ("Private prosecution and the minor judiciary had been firmly rooted in Philadelphia s colonial beyond. Both were examples of the creative American model of the English common regulation. By the seventeenth century, personal prosecution turned into a essential part of English common law"); see also F. Goodnow, Principles of the Administrative Law of the United States 412-413 (1905).

    26 When such a celebration obtains a judgment that imposes sanctions on the offender, it is right to presume that the wrongdoer could be much less possibly to copy the injurious conduct that caused the litigation. The lessening of the danger of future damage is a concrete advantage.


    129

    Congress gave enforcement energy to state and local governments. forty two U. S. C. § 1l046(a)(2). Under the Court s reasoning, but, state and nearby governments might no longer have standing to sue for beyond violations, as a charge to the Treasury could no extra "redress" the injury of those governments than it would redress respondent s injury. This might be authentic despite the fact that Congress explicitly granted country and local governments this strength. Such a end is unheard of.

    It might be argued that the Court s choice is rooted in some other separation-of-powers problem: that this citizen match by some means interferes with the Executive s energy to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully completed," Art. II, § 3. It is hard to peer, but, how EPCRA s citizen-suit provision impinges at the electricity of the Executive. As an initial matter, this isn't a case in which respondent simply possesses the" undifferentiated public hobby " in seeing EPCRA enforced. Ante, at 106; see additionally Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U. S., at 577. Here, respondent-whose individuals live close to Steel Company-has alleged a sufficiently particularized harm underneath our precedents. App. 5 (grievance alleges that respondent s contributors "are living, very own assets, engage in leisure activities, breathe the air, and/or use regions near [Steel Company s] facility").

    Moreover, under the Court s very own reasoning, respondent would have had standing if Congress had authorized a few price to respondent. Ante, at 106 ("[T]he civil penalties authorized by using the statute ... might be regarded as a sort of reimbursement or redress to respondent in the event that they had been payable to respondent"). This conclusion is unexceptional for the reason that respondent has a more particularized interest than a plaintiff in a qui tam suit, an action that is deeply rooted in our history. United States ex rel. Marcus v. Hess, 317 U. S. 537, 541, n. 4 (1943) (" Statutes providing for moves with the aid of a common informer, who himself has no hobby some thing within the controversy apart from that given via statute, had been in


    one hundred thirty

    a hundred thirty STEEL CO. v. CITIZENS FOR BETTER ENVIRONMENT

    STEVENS, J., concurring in judgment

    life for loads of years in England, and in this country ever because the basis of our Government " (quoting Marvin v. Trout, 199 U. S. 212, 225 (1905)); Adams v. Woods, 2 Cranch 336, 341 (1805) (opinion of Marshall, C. J.) ("Almost each satisfactory or forfeiture beneath a penal statute, may be recovered with the aid of an motion of debt [qui tam] as well as by using records [by a public prosecutor]"); 3 W. Blackstone, Commentaries 160 (1768); Caminker, The Constitutionality of Qui Tam Actions, ninety nine Yale L. J. 341, 342, and n. three (1989) (describing qui tam movements legal by way of First Congress); see also Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U. S., at 572-573.

    Yet it's far doubtful why the separation-of-powers question need to turn on whether the plaintiff receives monetary compensation. In either instance, a private citizen is implementing the law. If separation of powers does no longer forestall standing when Congress creates a prison right that authorizes compensation to the plaintiff, it's far uncertain why separation of powers should dictate a opposite end result when Congress has created a prison right but has directed that price be made to the Federal Treasury.

    Indeed, in this case (assuming for present functions that respondent efficiently reads the statute) not best has Congress authorized status, however the Executive Branch has additionally endorsed its interpretation of Article III. Brief for United States as Amicus Curiae 7-30. It is this Court s selection, no longer whatever that Congress or the Executive has executed, that encroaches at the domain of other branches of the Federal GovernmentP

    27 Ironically, despite the fact that the Court insists that the standing question should be spoke back first, it relies on the deserves while it answers the status query. Proof that Steel Company again and again violated the regulation through failing to file EPCRA reviews for eight years should suffice to establish the District Court s energy to impose sanctions, or at the least to determine what sanction, if any, is suitable. Evidence that Steel Company became unaware of the law and has taken steps to avoid destiny violations is fantastically relevant to the merits of the question whether any remedy is essential, however definitely does not deprive the District Court of the energy to determine the


    131

    It is for that reason quite clear that the Court s keeping today represents a substantial new development in our constitutional jurisprudence. Moreover, it's far equally clear that the Court has the power to answer the statutory query first. It is, consequently, no longer essential to reject the Court s resolution of the standing issue so one can conclude that it might be prudent to answer the question of statutory creation before announcing new constitutional doctrine.

    III

    EPCRA s citizen-in shape provision states, in applicable element: "[A]the big apple person may additionally begin a civil motion on his very own behalf against ... [a]n proprietor or operator of a facility for failure to do any of the following: ... Complete and post an stock shape underneath segment eleven 022 (a) of this identify ... [or] [c]omplete and put up a toxic chemical launch form below phase 11023(a) of this name." 42 U. S. C. §§ 11046(a)(1)(A)(iii)-(iv).

    Unfortunately, this language is ambiguous. It could suggest, because the Sixth Circuit has held, that a citizen simplest has the right to sue for a "failure ... to complete and post" the required bureaucracy. Under this analyzing, once the owner or operator has filed the bureaucracy, the district courtroom now not has jurisdiction. Atlantic States Legal Foundation v. United Musical, sixty one F.3d 473, 475 (1995). Alternatively, it can be, as the Seventh Circuit held, that the terms "below segment 11022(a)" and "underneath segment 11023(a)" incorporate the requirements of those sections, consisting of the requirement that the reviews be filed by way of precise dates. 90 F.3d 1237, 1243 (1996).

    remedy issue. Cf. United States v. W T. Grant Co., 345 U. S. 629, 633 (1953) ("Here the defendants told the court that the interlocks not existed and disclaimed any intention to restore them. Such a career does no longer suffice to make a case moot although it is one of the factors to be considered in figuring out the appropriateness of granting an injunction towards the now-discontinued acts").


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    132 STEEL CO. v. CITIZENS FOR BETTER ENVIRONMENT

    STEVENS, J., concurring in judgment

    Although the language of the citizen-in shape provision is ambiguous, different sections of EPCRA suggest that Congress did no longer intend to confer jurisdiction over citizen suits for entirely past violations. First, EPCRA calls for the personal litigant to present the alleged violator word as a minimum 60 days earlier than bringing in shape. forty two U. S. C. § 1l046(d)(1).28 In Gwaltney, we taken into consideration the import of a extensively identical observe requirement, and concluded that it indicated a congressional intent to allow suit only for ongoing and destiny violations:

    "[T]he reason of be aware to the alleged violator is to offer it an possibility to convey itself into complete compliance with the Act and consequently likewise render needless a citizen match. If we assume, as respondents urge, that citizen fits may additionally target fully beyond violations, the requirement of note to the alleged violator will become gratuitous. Indeed, respondents, in propounding their interpretation of the Act, can think about no purpose for Congress to require such notice apart from that it regarded proper to tell an alleged violator that it changed into approximately to be sued. Brief for Respondents 14." 484 U. S., at 60.

    Second, EPCRA places a ban on citizen fits once EPA has started out an enforcement motion. forty two U. S C. § 1l046(e).29 In Gwaltney, we considered a similar provision and concluded that it indicated a congressional cause to prohibit citizen fits for totally beyond violations:

    28"No motion can be commenced under subsection (a)(1)(A) of this segment prior to 60 days after the plaintiff has given observe of the alleged violation to the Administrator, the State in which the alleged violation happens, and the alleged violator. Notice underneath this paragraph will be given in such manner because the Administrator shall prescribe through law."

    29"No action may be started below subsection (a) of this section against an proprietor or operator of a facility if the Administrator has commenced and is diligently pursuing an administrative order or civil action to enforce the requirement worried or to impose a civil penalty under this Act with admire to the violation of the requirement."


    133

    "The bar on citizen fits when governmental enforcement motion is beneath manner indicates that the citizen fit is supposed to supplement in place of supplant governmental movement .... Permitting citizen fits for wholly past violations of the Act ought to undermine the supplementary role predicted for the citizen match. This danger is first-rate illustrated through an example. Suppose that the Administrator diagnosed a violator of the Act and issued a compliance order .... Suppose similarly that the Administrator agreed now not to evaluate or otherwise are seeking civil penalties on the situation that the violator take a few intense corrective movement, consisting of to put in in particular effective but steeply-priced machinery, that it otherwise could now not be obliged to take. If residents could record match, months or years later, if you want to are searching for the civil penalties that the Administrator chose to forgo, then the Administrator s discretion to enforce the Act inside the public hobby might be curtailed appreciably. The same is probably said of the discretion of nation enforcement government. Respondents interpretation of the scope of the citizen suit could alternate the nature of the citizens function from interstitial to doubtlessly intrusive." 484 U. S., at 60-61.

    Finally, despite the fact that these two provisions did now not solve the problem, our settled policy of adopting appropriate structures of statutory provisions with a view to keep away from the useless adjudication of constitutional questions-right here, the unresolved status query-strongly supports a production of the statute that does not authorize suits for entirely beyond violations. As we said in Edward J. DeBartolo Corp. v. Florida Gulf Coast Building & Constr. Trades Council, 485 U. S. 568, 575 (1988): "This cardinal principle has its roots in Chief Justice Marshall s opinion for the Court in Murray v. Schooner Charming Betsy, 2 Cranch 64, 118 (1804), and has for so long been applied by this Court that it's miles past debate." See also NLRB v. Catholic Bishop of Chicago, 440 U. S. 490,


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    134 STEEL CO. v. CITIZENS FOR BETTER ENVIRONMENT

    GINSBURG, J., concurring in judgment

    500-501 (1979); Machinists v. Street, 367 U. S. 740, 749-750 (1961); Crowell v. Benson, 285 U. S. 22, 62 (1932); Lucas v. Alexander, 279 U. S. 573, 577 (1929); Panama R. Co. v. Johnson, 264 U. S. 375, 390 (1924); United States ex rel. Lawyer General v. Delaware & Hudson Co., 213 U. S. 366,407-408 (1909); Parsons v. Bedford, 3 Pet. 433, 448-449 (1830) (opinion of Story, J.).

    IV

    For those motives, I concur in the Court s judgment, but do no longer be a part of its opinion.

    JUSTICE GINSBURG, concurring inside the judgment. Congress has legal citizen suits to enforce the Emergency Planning and Community Right- To- Know Act of 1986, 42 U. S. C. § 11001 et seq. Does that authorization, as Congress designed it, allow citizen fits for totally beyond violations? For the motives stated by using JUSTICE STEVENS in Part III of his opinion, I agree that the solution is "No." I could comply with the direction this Court marked in Gwaltney of Smithfield, Ltd. v. Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Inc., 484 U. S. 49, 60-sixty one (1987), and withstand expounding or supplying advice at the constitutionality of what Congress might have finished, but did now not do.

    Oral Argument - October 06, 1997
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