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Case Basics
Docket No. 
Defenders of Wildlife
(on behalf of the Petitioner)
(on behalf of the Respondents)
Facts of the Case 

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (S7(a)(2)) required federal agencies to consult with the Secretary of the Interior to ensure that any authorized actions did not jeopardize endangered or threatened species or critically destroy natural habitats. A 1986 amendment to the act limited it scope to actions in the United States or on the high seas. Defenders of Wildlife and other organizations dedicated to wildlife conservation filed an action seeking a declaratory judgment that the new amendment erred by providing for a geographic limit on the original law.


Do the respondents have standing to sue?

Decision: 7 votes for Lujan, 2 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Article 3, Section 2, Paragraph 1: Case or Controversy Requirement

No. Even if the Court were to assume that the agency-funded projects at issue threatened listed species, there was no proof that these actions would produce "actual or imminent" injuries to particular respondents who might some day wish to visit the foreign countries in question. The Court disregarded the proposed theory of "ecosystem nexus" which claimed that any person who used any part of of a "contiguous ecosystem" adversed affected by a funded activity had standing to sue.

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LUJAN v. DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 30 August 2015. <>.
LUJAN v. DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 30, 2015).
"LUJAN v. DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 30, 2015,