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Public Citizen, Inc. v. Trump

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20003
Nos. 17-253, (D.D.C., 12/20/2019) (Moss, J.)

A district court denied public interest groups' motion for partial summary judgment in challenging an executive order that requires federal agencies to repeal two existing rules for each new rule promulgated. The groups argued they had associational standing based on injuries that two of their members would allegedly sustain because the order delayed final authorization of DOT's vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications rule and thereby interfered with the members' plans to purchase and use V2V-equipped vehicles. The court concluded that DOT's attestation that the executive order played no role in the delay and the groups' lack of evidence to the contrary established that the delay thus far has been unrelated to the order. The groups then argued that even if the order has not done so to date, it will inevitably delay or derail finalization of the V2V rule at some point in the future. The court found there was no way of knowing whether, even in the absence of the order, the rule would be in place in time to benefit the members given their plans to purchase V2V-equipped vehicles within the next five to seven years. Concluding that injury to the members will be caused by the executive order depends on a variety of "predictive assumptions" that potentially involve several actors, and thus is too attenuated to permit concluding that the members' alleged future injury is "certainly impending" or that there is a substantial risk that the harm will occur. The court therefore denied the groups' motion for lack of standing.