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, "[I]n terms of Article III limitations on federal court jurisdiction, the question of standing is related only to whether the dispute sought to be
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:
The Court of Appeals viewed the matter differently, stating:
Those tests were based on prior decisions of this Court, such as Tennessee Power Co. v. TVA, 306 U.S. 118, where private power companies sought to enjoin TVA from operating, claiming that the statutory plan under which it was created was unconstitutional. The Court denied the competitors' standing, holding that they did not have that status "unless the right invaded is a legal right,— one of property, one arising out of contract, one protected against tortious invasion, or one founded on a statute which confers a privilege." Id., at 137-138.
The "legal interest" test goes to the merits. The question of standing is different. It concerns, apart from the "case" or "controversy" test, the question whether the interest sought to be protected by the complainant is arguably within the zone of interests to be protected or regulated by the statute or constitutional guarantee in question. Thus the Administrative Procedure Act grants standing to a person "aggrieved by agency action within the meaning of a relevant statute." 5 U. S. C. § 702
Apart from Article III jurisdictional questions, problems of standing, as resolved by this Court for its own governance, have involved a "rule of self-restraint." Barrows v. Jackson, 346 U.S. 249, 255. Congress can, of course, resolve the question one way or another, save as the requirements of Article III dictate otherwise. Muskrat v. United States, 219 U.S. 346.
Where statutes are concerned, the trend is toward enlargement of the class of people who may protest administrative action. The whole drive for enlarging the category of aggrieved "persons" is symptomatic of that trend. In a closely analogous case we held that an existing entrepreneur had standing to challenge the legality of the entrance of a newcomer into the business, because the established business was allegedly protected by a valid city ordinance that protected it from unlawful competition. Chicago v. Atchison, T. & S. F. R. Co.,
It is argued that the Chicago case and the Hardin case are relevant here because of § 4 of the Bank Service Corporation Act of 1962, 76 Stat. 1132, 12 U. S. C. § 1864, which provides:
The Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held in Arnold Tours, Inc. v. Camp, 408 F.2d 1147, 1153, that by reason of § 4 a data processing company has standing to contest the legality of a national bank performing data processing services for other banks and bank customers:
That leaves the remaining question, whether judicial review of the Comptroller's action has been precluded. We do not think it has been. There is great contrariety among administrative agencies created by Congress as respects "the extent to which, and the procedures by which, different measures of control afford judicial review of administrative action." Stark v. Wickard, 321 U.S. 288, 312 (Frankfurter, J., dissenting). The answer, of course, depends on the particular enactment under which review is sought. It turns on "the existence of courts and the intent of Congress as deduced from the statutes and precedents." Id., at 308.
The Administrative Procedure Act provides that the provisions of the Act authorizing judicial review apply "except to the extent that—(1) statutes preclude judicial review; or (2) agency action is committed to agency discretion by law." 5 U. S. C. § 701 (a) (1964 ed., Supp. IV).
In Shaughnessy v. Pedreiro, 349 U.S. 48, 51, we referred to "the generous review provisions" of that Act; and in that case as well as in others (see Rusk v. Cort, 369 U.S. 367, 379-380) we have construed that Act not grudgingly but as serving a broadly remedial purpose.
We read § 701 (a) as sympathetic to the issue presented in this case. As stated in the House Report:
There is no presumption against judicial review and in favor of administrative absolutism (see Abbott Laboratories v. Gardner, 387 U.S. 136, 140), unless that purpose is fairly discernible in the statutory scheme. Cf. Switchmen's Union v. National Mediation Board, 320 U.S. 297.
We find no evidence that Congress in either the Bank Service Corporation Act or the National Bank Act
We hold that petitioners have standing to sue and that the case should be remanded for a hearing on the merits.
Reversed and remanded.
[For opinion of MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN, see post, p. 167.]
We intimate no view, under the decisions rendered today here and in Barlow v. Collins, supra, on the issue of standing involved in No. 835, National Association of Securities Dealers v. SEC, and No. 843, Investment Company Institute v. Camp, now pending on petitions for writs of certiorari.