Emory Law Journal


Whether absent class members must have standing under Article III has divided the courts of appeals, with some suggesting that the requirements of Article III apply only to the named plaintiff. This Essay argues that the class action procedural device cannot change the fundamental principle that uninjured persons lack standing to have their claims adjudicated by federal courts. To hold otherwise would allow Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 to trump a constitutional imperative, in violation of both due process and the Rules Enabling Act, and would impermissibly expand the jurisdiction of federal courts in violation of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 82. Before certifying a class, courts should require the named plaintiff to show that absent class member standing¿like any other element of a claim¿can be proven in a classwide proceeding, and should assess whether proving that absent class members have standing would entail individualized inquiries that preclude classwide adjudication.