CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT.
Burger, Black, Douglas, Harlan, Brennan, Stewart, White, Marshall
MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.
Petitioners sell data processing services to businesses generally. In this suit they seek to challenge a ruling by respondent Comptroller of the Currency that, as an incident to their banking services, national banks, including respondent American National Bank & Trust Company, may make data processing services available to other banks and to bank customers. The District Court dismissed the complaint for lack of standing of petitioners to bring the suit. 279 F.Supp. 675. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 406 F.2d 837. The case is here on a petition for writ of certiorari which we granted. 395 U.S. 976.
Generalizations about standing to sue are largely worthless as such. One generalization is, however, necessary and that is that the question of standing in the federal courts is to be considered in the framework of Article III which restricts judicial power to "cases" and "controversies." As we recently stated in Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83, 101, "In terms of Article III limitations on federal court jurisdiction, the question of standing is related only to whether the dispute sought to be
adjudicated will be presented in an adversary context and in a form historically viewed as capable of judicial resolution." Flast was a taxpayer's suit. The present is a competitor's suit. And while the two have the same Article III starting point, they do not necessarily track one another.
The first question is whether the plaintiff alleges that the challenged action has caused him injury in fact, economic or otherwise. There can be no doubt but that petitioners have satisfied this test. The petitioners not only allege that competition by national banks in the business of providing data processing services might entail some future loss of profits for the petitioners, they also allege that respondent American National Bank & Trust Company was performing or preparing to perform such services for two customers for whom petitioner Data Systems, Inc., had previously agreed or negotiated to perform such services. The petitioners' suit was brought not only against the American National Bank & Trust Company, but also against the Comptroller of the Currency. The Comptroller was alleged to have caused petitioners injury in fact by his 1966 ruling which stated:
"Incidental to its banking services, a national bank may make available its data processing equipment or perform data processing services on such equipment for other banks and bank customers." Comptroller's Manual for National Banks para. 3500 (October 15, 1966).
The Court of Appeals viewed the matter differently, stating:
"[A] plaintiff may challenge alleged illegal competition when as complainant it pursues (1) a legal interest by reason of public charter or contract, . . .
(2) a legal interest by reason of statutory protection, . . . or (3) a 'public interest' in which Congress has recognized the need for review of administrative action and plaintiff is significantly involved to have ...