Second, the injury must be fairly traceable to the governmental conduct
alleged. See Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 504 (1975) (finding lack of
standing where city residents failed to show a causal relationship
between town's zoning practices and alleged injury); National Maritime
Union v. Commander, Military Sealift Command, 824 F.2d 1228 (D.C. Cir.
1987) (holding that the plaintiff failed the second and third prongs of
standing). A plaintiff will not have standing if this court must accept a
speculative inference or assumption to link the alleged injury to the
challenged action. See id.; Andrx Pharm., Inc. v. Bovail Corp. Int'l,
256 F.3d 799, 815 (D.C. Cir. 2001) (declaring that the potential
manufacturer's damages were not too speculative assuming it could claim
its intent and preparedness to enter the market); Advanced Mgmt. Tech.
v. Federal Aviation Auth., 211 F.3d 633, 637 (D.C. Cir. 2000) (holding
that a contractor lacked standing on the theory of reputational injury).
Third, the plaintiff must prove that the alleged injury is likely to be
redressed by a favorable decision of this court. See Lujan, 504 U.S. at
561; Tozzi v. U.S. Dep't of Health and Human Servs., 271 F.3d 301 (D.C.
Cir. 2001) (recognizing that upgrade classification change from
"reasonably anticipated" to "known" carcinogen caused some economic
injury that could be redressed by reversing the classification).
ii. Organizational or Representational Standing
An organization has standing only if it meets a separate three-prong
test. See Truckers United for Safety v. Mead, 251 F.3d 183 (D.C. Cir.
2001) (holding that a motor carriers' association has standing to sue on
behalf of its members for Department of Transportation's alleged abuses
of agency authority). Such standing exists where the organization's
members (1) would have standing to sue in their own right, (2) the
interests that the organization seeks to protect are germane to its
purposes, and finally, (3) neither the claims asserted nor the relief
requested requires the participation of each of the organization's
individual members. See id.; Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw
Envtl. Servs. (TOC), Inc., 528 U.S. 167, 181 (2000); Hunt v. Washington
State Apple Comm'n, 432 U.S. 333, 342-43 (1977) (agreeing with the
district court's determination that a commission has standing to assert
the claims of apple growers and dealers in its representational
capacity); Fund Democracy, LLC v. SEC, 278 F.3d 21, 25 (D.C. Cir. 2002)
(applying test from Laidlaw and determining that no standing exists where
a company has failed to show that individuals would have standing to sue
in their own right).
3. Legal Standard for Equal Protection Claims
The Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause prevents a state
from enacting any law that deprives "any person within its jurisdiction
the equal protection of the laws." See U.S. CONST. amend. XIV, § 1.
Although the Fourteenth Amendment provides an explicit equal
protection*fn1 directive to the states, the Supreme Court has held that
the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause contains
an equal protection
component applicable to the federal government. See Bolling v. Sharpe,
347 U.S. 497 (1954). The D.C. Circuit has held the same. See
Tucker v. Branker, 142 F.3d 1294 (D.C. Cir. 1998) (recognizing
a federal government violation of the equal protection component of the
Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause). "Equal protection analysis in
the Fifth Amendment area is the same as that under the Fourteenth
Amendment." Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 93 (1976). There are
three standards*fn2 of review which the Court has announced in the
area of equal protection. These standards range in degree and dictate
the depth of judicial scrutiny to be applied in equal protection claims.
The key to evaluating a classification depends on the subject
delineation, which, in turn, triggers the appropriate standard of review.
i. Strict Scrutiny for Race and Nationality Classifications
The court analyzes classifications based on race under strict scrutiny
and upholds such classifications only if they are narrowly tailored to
serve a compelling governmental objective. See Loving v. Virginia,
388 U.S. 1 (1967); McLaughlin v. Florida, 379 U.S. 184 (1964). Likewise,
classifications based on one's national origin are subject to the same
exacting standard. See Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944).
ii. Heightened Scrutiny for Gender and Illegitimacy Classifications
The court does not permit delineations based on gender unless it is
substantially related to an important governmental objective. See Nguyen
v. Immigration and Naturalization Serv., 533 U.S. 53 (2001). The Supreme
Court applies a quasi strict scrutiny analysis when it is faced with
gender discrimination. See United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515
As such, "[p]arties who seek to defend gender-based government
action must demonstrate an `exceedingly persuasive justification' for
that action." Id. at 531. Notwithstanding that fact, illegitimacy is
still analyzed through the lens of traditional intermediate scrutiny
analysis. See Lalli v. Lalli, 439 U.S. 259, 275 (1978).
iii. Rational Basis for All Other Classifications
The rational basis standard of review is the most deferential and only
inquires as to whether there is a rational or reasonable relationship to
a legitimate governmental objective. See Williamson v. Lee Optical,
348 U.S. 483 (1955). If such a relationship exists, then the court will
end its inquiry into the matter and declare the subject law
constitutional. See id. In fact, a court may interject a hypothetical
purpose or the parties may themselves proffer post-hoc rationales for the
delineation. See id. at 487. Even though the subject classification is
usually upheld under the rational basis standard of scrutiny, on occasion
this test will result in the invalidation of a law or statute. See Romer
v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996); City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Ctr.,
473 U.S. 432 (1985). As such, the rational basis test has some teeth*fn3
because it leads to the abrogation of a law "whose relationship to an
asserted goal is so attenuated as to render the distinction arbitrary or
irrational." See Cleburne, 517 U.S. at 446; Romer, 517 U.S. 620 (1996),
(striking down a State's constitutional amendment as unconstitutional,
though employing rational basis review, because it was enacted based on
animus against individuals that practice alternative lifestyles).
4. Legal Standard for Due Process Claims
The Fifth Amendment provides that no person shall be "deprived of
life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." See U.S.
CONST. amend. V. In order to have a life, liberty, or property interest,
a person must have more than an abstract need or desire. See Bd. of
Regents of State Colleges v. Roth, 408 U.S. 564, 577 (1972). Instead, a
person is required to have a legitimate claim of entitlement. See id.
These interests are not created by the Constitution but are defined by
existing "rules or understandings that secure certain benefits and that
support claims of entitlement." Id. Before an entitlement in property
may be taken away, the entity must provide adequate procedure, such as a
hearing, to protect the individual's reliance interest. See id. Property
rights in governmental employment are subject to procedural due process,
but no substantive due process attaches to those rights. See id.
Substantive due process rights attach only when a fundamental right*fn4
involved, thus ensuring that those rights are not taken away merely
through adequate procedural safeguards. See Hutchins v. District of
Columbia, 188 F.3d 531, 535 (D.C. Cir. 1999). The protection of
fundamental rights is derived from the substantive component of the Fifth
Amendment's Due Process Clause, which protects those rights that are
"implicit in the concept of ordered liberty." See Palko v. Connecticut,
302 U.S. 319, 325 (1937). Not all rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights
are fundamental and warrant strict scrutiny analysis. See Hutchins, 188
F.3d at 538. When there is a classification that is protected by
substantive due process, however, the appropriate judicial analysis is
strict scrutiny. See Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702 (1997). Such
a classification will not survive unless it is found to be absolutely
necessary or narrowly tailored to meet a compelling governmental
interest. See id.
B. The Plaintiffs Have Standing to Assert Their Claims
1. The Court Determines That the Individual Plaintiffs Have Standing
to Assert Their Cause of Action
Plaintiffs Reed and Marquez have met their burden of establishing
standing, thus allowing this court to proceed to the merits of this
suit. The standing requirement is a prudential limitation placed on the
judiciary, which ensures its constitutionally mandated jurisdiction. See
Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560. The individual plaintiffs satisfy the prudential
limitation of standing.