The Supreme Court recently decided in Town of Chester v. Laroe Estates, Inc. that intervenors of right under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2) must demonstrate independent Article III standing when they pursue relief different from that requested by an original plaintiff. This decision resolved, in part, a decades-long controversy among the Courts of Appeals over the proper relationship between Rule 24 intervention and Article III standing that the Court first acknowledged in Diamond v. Charles. But the Court’s narrow decision in Town of Chester hardly disposed of the controversy, and Courts of Appeals are still free to require standing of defendant-intervenors and, it stands to reason, plaintiff-intervenors even if they do not pursue different relief.
With this debate yet unresolved, this Note takes a less conventional approach. In addition to arguing that the Supreme Court’s precedents implicitly resolved this question before Town of Chester, this Note argues that the nature of judicial decisions raises two concerns that a liberal application of Rule 24(a)(2) would mitigate. First, this Note argues that stare decisis limits the right of litigants to be heard on the merits of their claims and defenses in a way that undermines the principles of due process. Second, this Note argues that the process of judicial decisionmaking is fraught with potential epistemic problems that can produce suboptimal legal rules. After considering these two concerns, this Note argues that Rule 24(a)(2) is a better and more practical way to mitigate these problems than are Rule 24(a)(2)’s alternatives.
Zachary N. Ferguson,
Rule 24 Notwithstanding: Why Article III Should Not Limit Intervention of Right,
67 Duke Law Journal
Available at: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/dlj/vol67/iss1/4