William & Mary Law Review Online


Cities nationwide increasingly engage in affirmative, plaintiff-side litigation to protect their residents. But despite this trend, standing remains a persistent challenge in municipal affirmative litigation—particularly in federal court, and particularly in impact litigation. I have previously proposed one way to give cities standing in federal court more in line with that of states, and with the role that cities play in their residents’ lives: extending to municipalities the doctrineof associational standing, which nonprofits and associations use to speak for their members in court. Recent works have both amplified and critiqued that initial proposal. With these additional considerations in hand, we are well positioned to briefly revisit whether cities should be able to rely on a theory of associational standing to protect their residents, and what that tells us about standing law and local power more broadly. I argue that associational standing should still be a viable option for municipal standing in federal court. More broadly, I contend that a stable, reliable form of standing for cities to represent the interests of their constituents in federal court would be good for both the doctrine and the cities.