The First Principles of Standing: Privilege, System Justification, and the Predictable Incoherence of Article III

Sundquist, Christian B.

This Article examines the indeterminacy of standing doctrine by deconstructing recent desegregation, affirmative action, and racial profiling cases. This examination is an attempt to uncover the often unstated meta-principles that guide standing jurisprudence. The Article contends that the inherent indeterminacy of standing law can be understood as reflecting an unstated desire to protect racial and class privilege, which is accomplished through the dogma of individualism, equal opportunity (liberty), and "white innocence." Relying on insights from System Justification Theory, a burgeoning field of social psychology, the Article argues that the seemingly incoherent results in racial standing cases can be understood as unconscious attempts to preserve the status quo. The Article proposes moving "beyond the transcendental nonsense" of standing doctrine and its inevitable replication of economic and racial privilege by completely eliminating all standing limitations to the access of justice.


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Columbia Journal of Race and Law

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October 20, 2012