Control Data Corp. v. Baldridge, Nos. 80-1143

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
Writing for the CourtBefore TAMM and EDWARDS; TAMM
Citation210 U.S.App.D.C. 170,655 F.2d 283
Decision Date05 October 1981
Docket NumberNos. 80-1143,80-1165 and 80-1176,80-1152
Parties, 28 Cont.Cas.Fed. (CCH) 81,233 CONTROL DATA CORPORATION, Appellant, v. Malcolm BALDRIGE, Secretary of Commerce, et al. SPERRY CORPORATION, Appellant, v. Malcolm BALDRIGE, Secretary of Commerce. HONEYWELL INFORMATION SYSTEMS, INC., Appellant, v. Malcolm BALDRIGE, Secretary of Commerce. BURROUGHS CORPORATION, Appellant, v. Malcolm BALDRIGE, Secretary of Commerce, et al.

Page 283

655 F.2d 283
210 U.S.App.D.C. 170, 28 Cont.Cas.Fed. (CCH) 81,233
CONTROL DATA CORPORATION, Appellant,
v.
Malcolm BALDRIGE, Secretary of Commerce, et al.
SPERRY CORPORATION, Appellant,
v.
Malcolm BALDRIGE, Secretary of Commerce.
HONEYWELL INFORMATION SYSTEMS, INC., Appellant,
v.
Malcolm BALDRIGE, Secretary of Commerce.
BURROUGHS CORPORATION, Appellant,
v.
Malcolm BALDRIGE, Secretary of Commerce, et al.
Nos. 80-1143, 80-1152, 80-1165 and 80-1176.
United States Court of Appeals,
District of Columbia Circuit.
Argued Oct. 21, 1980.
Decided March 25, 1981.
Certiorari Denied Oct. 5, 1981.
See 102 S.Ct. 363.

Eldon H. Crowell, Washington, D.C., with whom George D. Ruttinger and Peter F. Garvin, III, Washington, D.C., were on the brief, for appellant Control Data Corp. W. Stanfield Johnson and Robert O. Davis, Washington, D.C., also entered appearances for appellant Control Data Corp.

James R. McAlee and Hadrian R. Katz, Washington, D.C., were on the brief for appellant Sperry Corp.

Milton Eisenberg, Henry A. Hubschman, John B. Corr and Richard B. Berryman, Washington, D.C., were on the brief for appellant Honeywell Information Systems, Inc.

George L. Christopher and Charles Lee Eisen, Washington, D. C., were on the brief for appellant Burroughs Corp.

Mark N. Mutterperl, Atty., U. S. Dept. of Justice, Washington, D. C., with whom Alice Daniel, Asst. Atty. Gen., Charles F. C. Ruff, U. S. Atty., and Leonard Schaitman, Atty., U. S. Dept. of Justice, Washington, D. C., were on the brief, for appellees.

Before TAMM and EDWARDS, Circuit Judges, and LLOYD F. MacMAHON, * U. S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York.

Opinion for the court filed by Circuit Judge TAMM.

TAMM, Circuit Judge:

Appellants, major manufacturers and suppliers of computer systems and equipment for the government, claim the right to challenge rules promulgated by the Secretary of Commerce. These rules, issued pursuant to the Secretary's authority under the Brooks Act, establish mandatory specifications governing virtually all procurements of computer equipment by the federal government. Appellants attacked these rules in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, alleging that the Secretary's decision was arbitrary and capricious, that the Secretary exceeded his

Page 285

statutory authority, and that the administrative proceeding from which the rules emerged violated the Administrative Procedure Act. United States District Judge Penn refused to reach these contentions, however, ruling that appellants lacked standing to prosecute their claims. We find that a principled application of the amorphous "zone of interests" test compels this result and, accordingly, affirm the district court's decision.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Legislative Concern: ADP Procurement and the Need for Standards

In 1965, recognizing that increasing governmental expenditures for automatic data processing (ADP) equipment required immediate legislative attention, Congress passed an amendment to the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949. Ch. 288, 63 Stat. 377 (codified in scattered sections of 40 & 41 U.S.C.). This amendment, known as the Brooks Act, 1 had as its avowed objective "the economic and efficient purchase, lease, maintenance, operation, and utilization of automatic data processing equipment by Federal departments and agencies." 111 Cong.Rec. 22,823 (1965) (remarks of Rep. Brooks). To achieve this objective, Congress attempted to create a "coordinated management program through which the Government (could) keep track of its ... investment and more wisely predict and control its future expenditures." Id. Pursuant to this program, management responsibilities were allocated among the General Services Administration, the Bureau of the Budget, and the Department of Commerce.

Under this allocation, the Secretary of Commerce was authorized to "undertake necessary research and to provide scientific and technological advisory services relating to the use of automatic data processing in the Government." Id. at 22,824 (remarks of Rep. Reid). The Secretary also assumed the responsibility for submission of recommendations to the President regarding the promulgation of uniform federal standards in the field. 2 This latter responsibility reflected clearly Congress's perception that the creation of standards would permit greater compatibility among systems, foster competition, and thereby promote more effectively the goal of efficient management of the government's ADP resources. Automatic Data Processing Equipment: Hearings on H.R. 4845 Before the Subcomm. on Government Activities of the House Comm. on Government Operations, 89th Cong., 1st Sess. 158-59 (1965) (statements of Rep. Brooks and Dr. William Eaton).

Since the passage of the Act, Congress has not only maintained this emphasis but has in addition more sharply defined its focus. The House Committee on Government Operations, for example, commented on the overall need for standards in its 1976 oversight report regarding the growing trend of noncompetitive ADP procurements by federal agencies. Urging that corrective measures be taken, the Committee suggested the following:

First and foremost is the development of meaningful hardware and software standards.... At the hearings, GAO expressed serious concern about the lack of

Page 286

progress being made by NBS in the development of standards. This concern of GAO was prompted, in large part, by its recognition that standards are essential to the achievement of full competition and to the saving of large sums of money by the Government. To date, NBS has only developed to a limited extent standards necessary to fully implement the Act, even though it acknowledged at its hearings that lack of standards seriously impedes effective competition. As the Computer Industry Association testified at the hearings, NBS has developed no meaningful hardware standards and only a relatively few software standards....

H.R.Rep.No.1746, 94th Cong., 2d Sess. 7 (1976).

Beyond this reiteration of the benefits arising from the promulgation of standards in general, however, Congress also identified specific areas in which particular standards would provide concrete advantages for government purchasing. One such standard was the "input/output channel level interface" standard (I/O standard). Input/output channels connect peripheral equipment such as display terminals, keyboards, and printers to the computer mainframe, which performs most of the computer's logical operations. The major computer manufacturers such as appellants and IBM offer their customers both mainframes and peripheral equipment, and it was from these "systems" manufacturers that federal agencies had usually purchased their ADP requirements. This practice, although more convenient for agency customers, was believed to be too expensive. Elmer Staats, Comptroller General, addressed this problem at hearings held by the Joint Economic Committee in 1970. At that time, he explained that the General Accounting Office (GAO) had determined in a recent study that more economical procurements could be made if some components were purchased from suppliers other than the mainframe supplier. According to the study, substantial savings could be achieved immediately through this procurement method because some of the components currently available were directly interchangeable, or "plug-to-plug compatible," with those of the major suppliers. Where the components were not plug-to-plug compatible, however, this method of procurement could be utilized only if adequate interfaces between the mainframe and the peripheral components were developed. Economy in Government Property Management Procurement of Data Processing Equipment: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Economy in Government of the Joint Economic Comm., 91st Cong., 2d Sess. 4-5 (1970) (testimony of Elmer Staats). Such development would permit government agencies to derive from this marketing strategy maximum benefits competition among components manufacturers and "increased flexibility in the selection and use ... of those components best suited to achieve the desired objectives." Id. at 12 (statement of Elmer Staats).

B. Development of the Present I/O Standard

Recognition of these benefits, however, did not induce, either easily or speedily, the creation of the desired standard. As early as 1967 the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) had established a joint industry-government committee intended, initially, to investigate the feasibility and practical impact of I/O interface standardization and, subsequently, to develop voluntary I/O standards for the industry. While the committee failed in its second objective, its failure did prompt congressional charges of purposeful industry delay and a call for mandatory standards promulgated by the government. 3

Page 287

Responding to this concern, the Department of Commerce published, and subsequently promulgated, 4 the four interface standards at issue here. These standards "define the mechanical, electrical and functional interface specifications for connecting computer peripheral equipment, such as magnetic tape and disk devices, as a part of medium and large scale automatic data processing (ADP) systems." 5 Decision Memorandum (D.M.) Regarding Recommended Federal Information Processing Standards for I/O Channel Level Interface (Jan. 22, 1979) at 1, Joint Appendix (J.A.) at 89. Through the promulgation of these standards, the Department expected to increase competition among peripheral equipment suppliers and thus enjoy lower purchasing costs and to increase opportunities for exchange or transfer of equipment among agencies, thereby employing more efficiently the government's existing ADP inventory. D.M. Regarding Recommended Federal Information Processing Standard for Rotating Mass Storage Subsystems (Aug. 8, 1979), J.A. at 102.

Appellants, submitting comments on the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
62 practice notes
  • Capital Legal Foundation v. Commodity Credit Corp., No. 82-1350
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • June 17, 1983
    ...Union of United States, Inc. v. Federal Trade Commission, 691 F.2d 575, 577 n. 9 (D.C.Cir.1982) (en banc); Control Data Corp. v. Baldrige, 655 F.2d 283, 288 (D.C.Cir.1981). The standing inquiry focuses on the substance of the agency action, its adverse impact on the plaintiff, and the types......
  • Leaf Tobacco Exporters Ass'n, Inc. v. Block, No. 83-2145
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • December 5, 1984
    ...have ignored the test, others have opposed it, and several have construed it in different ways. See Control Data Corp. v. Baldridge, 655 F.2d 283, 293-94 (D.C.Cir.1981), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 881, 102 S.Ct. 363, 70 L.Ed.2d 190 (1981) (citing The Supreme Court, finding little occasion for f......
  • National Treasury Employees Union v. U.S. Merit Systems Protection Bd., No. 82-1206
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • September 11, 1984
    ...there must be no "clear and convincing" indication of a legislative intent to withhold judicial review. Control Data Corp. v. Baldrige, 655 F.2d 283, 288-89 (D.C.Cir.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 881, 102 S.Ct. 363, 70 L.Ed.2d 190 (1981). See also Simon v. Eastern Kentucky Welfare Rights Organi......
  • Lamoille Valley R. Co. v. I.C.C., Nos. 82-1498
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • June 28, 1983
    ...Providence & Worcester--is too speculative to satisfy the "injury in fact" requirement for standing. See Control Data Corp. v. Baldrige, 655 F.2d 283, 288-89 (D.C.Cir.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 881, 102 S.Ct. 363, 70 L.Ed.2d 190 (1981) (3-part test for standing under the APA). We agree that ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
62 cases
  • Capital Legal Foundation v. Commodity Credit Corp., No. 82-1350
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • June 17, 1983
    ...Union of United States, Inc. v. Federal Trade Commission, 691 F.2d 575, 577 n. 9 (D.C.Cir.1982) (en banc); Control Data Corp. v. Baldrige, 655 F.2d 283, 288 (D.C.Cir.1981). The standing inquiry focuses on the substance of the agency action, its adverse impact on the plaintiff, and the types......
  • Leaf Tobacco Exporters Ass'n, Inc. v. Block, No. 83-2145
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • December 5, 1984
    ...have ignored the test, others have opposed it, and several have construed it in different ways. See Control Data Corp. v. Baldridge, 655 F.2d 283, 293-94 (D.C.Cir.1981), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 881, 102 S.Ct. 363, 70 L.Ed.2d 190 (1981) (citing The Supreme Court, finding little occasion for f......
  • National Treasury Employees Union v. U.S. Merit Systems Protection Bd., No. 82-1206
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • September 11, 1984
    ...there must be no "clear and convincing" indication of a legislative intent to withhold judicial review. Control Data Corp. v. Baldrige, 655 F.2d 283, 288-89 (D.C.Cir.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 881, 102 S.Ct. 363, 70 L.Ed.2d 190 (1981). See also Simon v. Eastern Kentucky Welfare Rights Organi......
  • Lamoille Valley R. Co. v. I.C.C., Nos. 82-1498
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • June 28, 1983
    ...Providence & Worcester--is too speculative to satisfy the "injury in fact" requirement for standing. See Control Data Corp. v. Baldrige, 655 F.2d 283, 288-89 (D.C.Cir.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 881, 102 S.Ct. 363, 70 L.Ed.2d 190 (1981) (3-part test for standing under the APA). We agree that ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT