Brief of Amicus Curiae The International Municpal Lawyers Association in Town of Chester v. Laroe Estates, Inc. (Dec. 2, 2016)

Hawaii provides a good example of what can happen if standing requirements are relaxed. In recent years, Hawaii’s state courts have demonstrated a “willingness to depart from the federal approach and broaden standing,” particularly for cases involving public-policy questions.  Kevin Hallstrom, Standing Down: The Negative Consequences of Expanding Hawaii’s Doctrine of Standing, 30 U. Haw. L. Rev. 475, 475 (2007).  This development undermines the original goal of standing requirements in promoting judicial restraint, and “open[s] up the metaphorical floodgates” for frivolous lawsuits that negatively impact the economy. Id. at 493. The Article cautions that “lowering the barriers to justice provides greater opportunity for judicial activism,” forcing the court to deal with “hundreds of issues previously left only to the legislature.” Id. at 492 (“If the [plaintiffs] can point to the perceived harm of sea animals or the disruption of surfing spots to establish standing, any group should be able to assert a specific interest in some environmental or aesthetic harm caused by another party”).

Brief of Amicus Curiae The International Municpal Lawyers Association at 9-10, Town of Chester v. Laroe Estates, Inc. (2016) (No. 16-605), 2016 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 4438.