Summers v. Earth Island Institute

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Summers v. Earth Island Institute
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued October 8, 2008
Decided March 3, 2009
Full case name Priscilla Summers, et al., Petitioners v. Earth Island Institute, et al.
Docket nos. 07-463
Citations 555 U.S. 488 (more)
129 S. Ct. 1142; 173 L. Ed. 2d 1; 2009 U.S. LEXIS 1769; 77 U.S.L.W. 4146; 72 Fed. R. Serv. 3d (Callaghan) 1183; 67 ERC (BNA) 1961; 39 ELR 20047; 21 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 670
Prior history On writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Petitioner environmental organizations' claim that it is statistically likely that some of their members will visit the affected lands is insufficient to support Article III standing.
Court membership
Chief Justice
John G. Roberts
Associate Justices
John P. Stevens · Antonin Scalia
Anthony Kennedy · David Souter
Clarence Thomas · Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Stephen Breyer · Samuel Alito
Case opinions
Majority Scalia, joined by Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, Alito
Concurrence Kennedy
Dissent Breyer, joined by Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg
Laws applied
U.S. Const. art. III; Forest Service Decision-making and Appeals Reform Act

Summers v. Earth Island Institute, 555 U.S. 488 (2009), was a United States Supreme Court case decided 5–4 in which several environmental organizations brought suit against the United States Forest Service (USFS) to enjoin that federal agency from implementing rules that would allow the salvage sale of timber from 238 acres of fire-damaged federally owned land without conducting the notice, comment, and appeal process of the Forest Service Decision-making and Appeals Reform Act.

While the environmental organizations were litigating the injunction in the lower courts, the parties reached a settlement regarding the 238 acres in question and the district court accordingly dismissed. The plaintiffs, however, maintained that they still had standing to challenge the constitutionality of the exemption process generally because the process was statistically certain to implicate their rights in the future. The Court decided that this argument failed because, after voluntarily settling the portion of their lawsuit relevant to Burnt Ridge, respondents and their members are no longer under threat of injury from that project. The Court decided against the plaintiffs, holding that the "deprivation of a procedural right without some concrete interest that is affected by the deprivation . . . is insufficient to create Article III standing."[1]


  1. ^ 555 U.S. 288, 496 (2009).