Sierra Club v. Morton

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Sierra Club v. Morton
Court Supreme Court of the United States
Date decided April 19, 1972


The Mineral King valley in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is in California. Although this was a mining site, by the 1960's campers would visit the site.

The Sierra Club sought to stop Disney from building a ski resort at the Mineral King valley.

Rogers Morton was the federal Secretary of the Interior (1971-1975).

In 1965, the Forest Service gave Walt Disney Enterprises a permit to build a resort in the Mineral King Valley area. In 1969, Disney's plan included an 80-acre complex for motels, restaurants, parking, and ski facilities.

The Disney construction project entailed the passage of high-voltage power lines and a highway through the Sequoia National Park.

Procedural History

The Sierra Club sued the Secretary of the Interior, Morton, in federal district court in California. The Sierra Club sued pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. ยง 701 et seq., to stop the Mineral King Valley project. The district court ruled that the Sierra Club had standing.

The 9th Circuit held that the Sierra Club & its members lacked a direct interest in the Disney project; Sierra Club loses because of lack of standing to sue cabinet-level officials.


Does the Sierra Club have to allege actual injury to its members to have standing to sue a federal agency?


Potter Stewart wrote for the majority, "In order to sue, a party must have a sufficient personal stake in the outcome of a controversy to justify judicial resolution. This is known as standing."

The Sierra Club hasn't shown an actual potential harm to its members as a result of the ski resort site.