397 U.S. 150 (1970), 85, Association of Data Processing Service Organizations, Inc. v. Camp

Docket Nº:No. 85
Citation:397 U.S. 150, 90 S.Ct. 827, 25 L.Ed.2d 184
Party Name:Association of Data Processing Service Organizations, Inc. v. Camp
Case Date:March 03, 1970
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 150

397 U.S. 150 (1970)

90 S.Ct. 827, 25 L.Ed.2d 184

Association of Data Processing Service Organizations, Inc.

v.

Camp

No. 85

United States Supreme Court

March 3, 1970

Argued November 18, 1969

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS

FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT

Syllabus

Petitioners, which provide data processing services to businesses generally, challenge a ruling by the Comptroller of the Currency permitting national banks, such as respondent bank, as an incident to their banking services, to make data processing services available to other banks and bank customers. The District Court dismissed the complaint, holding that petitioners lacked standing to bring the suit, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

Held:

1. Petitioners have standing to maintain the action. Pp. 151-156, 157.

(a) Petitioners satisfy the "case" or "controversy" test of Article III of the Constitution, as they allege that the banks' competition causes them economic injury. Pp. 152-153.

(b) The interest sought to be protected by petitioners is arguably within the one of interests to be protected or regulated by the statute, and petitioners are "aggrieved" persons under § 702 of the Administrative Procedure Act. Pp. 153-156, 157.

2. Congress did not preclude judicial review of the Comptrollers rulings as to the scope of activities statutorily available to national banks. Pp. 156-157.

406 F.2d 37, reversed and remanded.

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DOUGLAS, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

Petitioners sell data processing services to businesses generally. In this suit, they seek to challenge a ruling by respondent Comptroller of the Currency that, as an incident to their banking services, national banks, including respondent American National Bank & Trust Company, may make data processing services available to other banks and to bank customers. The District Court dismissed the complaint for lack of standing of petitioners to bring the suit. 279 F.Supp. 675. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 406 F.2d 837. The case is here on a petition for writ of certiorari, which we granted. 395 U.S. 976.

Generalizations about standing to sue are largely worthless as such. One generalization is, however, necessary, and that is that the question of standing in the federal courts is to be considered in the framework of Article III, which restricts judicial power to "cases" and "controversies." As we recently stated in Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83 101,

[I]n terms of Article III limitations on federal court jurisdiction, the question of standing is related only to whether the dispute sought to be

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adjudicated will be presented in an adversary context and in a form historically viewed as capable of judicial resolution.

Flast was a taxpayer's suit. The present is a competitor's suit. And while the two have the same Article III starting point, they do not necessarily track one another.

The first question is whether the plaintiff alleges that the challenged action has caused him injury in fact, economic or otherwise. There can be no doubt but that petitioners have satisfied this test. The petitioners not only allege that competition by national banks in the business of providing data processing services might entail some future loss of profits for the petitioners, they also allege that respondent American National Bank & Trust Company was performing or preparing to perform such services for two customers for whom petitioner Data Systems, Inc., had previously agreed or negotiated to perform such services. The petitioners' suit was brought not only against the American National Bank & Trust Company, but also against the Comptroller of the Currency. The Comptroller was alleged to have caused petitioners injury in fact by his 1966 ruling, which stated:

Incidental to its banking services, a national bank may make available its data processing equipment or perform data processing services on such equipment for other banks and bank customers.

Comptroller's Manual for National Banks ¶ 3500 (October 15, 1966).

The Court of Appeals viewed the matter differently, stating:

[A] plaintiff may challenge alleged illegal competition when as complainant it pursues (1) a legal interest by reason of public charter or contract, . . .

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(2) a legal interest by reason of statutory protection, . . . or (3) a "public interest" in which Congress has recognized the need for review of administrative action and plaintiff is significantly involved to have standing to represent the public. . . .

406 F.2d at 842-843.1

[90 S.Ct. 830] Those tests were based on prior decisions of this Court, such as Tennessee Power Co. v. TVA, 306 U.S. 118, where private power companies sought to enjoin TVA from operating, claiming that the statutory plan under which it was created was unconstitutional. The Court denied the competitors' standing, holding that they did not have that status

unless the right invaded is a legal right, -- one of property, one arising out of contract, one protected against tortious invasion, or one founded on a statute which confers a privilege.

Id. at 137-138.

The "legal interest" test goes to the merits. The question of standing is different. It concerns, apart from the "case" or "controversy" test, the question whether the interest sought to be protected by the complainant is arguably within the zone of interests to be protected or regulated by the statute or constitutional guarantee in question. Thus, the Administrative Procedure Act grants standing to a person "aggrieved by agency action within the meaning of a relevant statute." 5 U.S.C. § 702

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(1964 ed., Supp. IV). That interest, at times, may reflect "aesthetic, conservational, and recreational," as well as economic, values. Scenic Hudson Preservation Conf. v. FPC, 354 F.2d 608, 616; Office of Communication of United Church of Christ v. FCC, 123 U.S.App.D.C. 328, 334-340, 359 F.2d 994, 1000-1006. A person or a family may have a spiritual stake in First Amendment values sufficient to give standing to raise issues concerning the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203. We mention these noneconomic values to emphasize...

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