What is “legal standing”? Great definition right here

Among the major issues any court must reckon with is the subject of legal “standing.” Which is may be the key issue to the eight Supremes when they deliberate the immigration case now before them.

This first paragraph of today’s New York Times article sums up the case: 

The Supreme Court on Monday seemed sharply divided during an extended argument over a challenge to President Obama’s plan that would shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation and allow them to work in the country legally.

At the tail end of the article, I found a brilliant and universally accessible definition of the legal principle:

Standing is a neutral legal principle that applies to the right and left alike, [Chief Justice John Roberts] wrote in an influential 1993 law review article.

“It restricts the right of conservative public interest groups to challenge liberal agency action or inaction,” he wrote, “just as it restricts the right of liberal public interest groups to challenge conservative agency action or inaction.”

[Former U.S. Solicitor General Walter] Dellinger said a rigorous approach to standing was consistent with Chief Justice Roberts’s statement at his confirmation hearings that judges should aspire to be umpires, whose only job is to call balls and strikes.

“Before any judge begins calling balls and strikes,” Mr. Dellinger said, “he must first make sure the batter at the plate is an actual player and not just a fan who ran on the field.” [My emphasis]

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