Missouri v. Harris

Plaintiff states lacked parens patriae standing to challenge California’s law about conditions under which hens may be kept if their eggs are to be sold in California, since the law’s financial burden falls on individual egg producers, not the plaintiff states’ citizens in general.  Missouri and several other states lacked Article III standing to bring a parens patriae suit on behalf of egg producers in their states to challenge California’s Prop. 2 and implementing legislation which restrict the conditions under which hens may be kept if their eggs are to be sold in California.  To have parens patriae standing, a state must articulate an interest apart from the interest of its affected citizens and show that the state is not just a nominal party.  Here, Missouri and the other states failed to meet that burden.  The egg producers would suffer the direct consequences of the added costs of complying with California law or losing a California market for their eggs.  The states’ only asserted interest–in the higher costs that their citizens might have to pay for eggs–was too speculative to support Article III standing.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Graber, J.); November 17, 2016; 2016 WL 6803046

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