Standing is the ability of a party to bring an action in court. In general, a party cannot bring a legal action simply because of a dissatisfaction with government policy. According to the Supreme Court, to bring an action in Federal court a party must demonstrate that:[1]

  1. It has suffered an “injury in fact,” defined as an invasion of a legally-protected interest which is (a) concrete and particularized and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical.
  2. There is a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of; the injury is traceable to the challenged action of the defendant, and not the result of the independent action of some third party not before the court.
  3. It is likely, as opposed to merely speculative, that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision by the court.

Even if a party can demonstrate those three elements necessary for standing, the Supreme Court has determined that “a plaintiff may still lack standing under the prudential principles by which the judiciary seeks to avoid deciding questions of broad social import where no individual rights would be vindicated and to limit access to the federal courts to those litigants best suited to assert a particular claim.”[2] To demonstrate prudential standing, a party must also be asserting his own legal interests rather than the interests of a third party.

[1] Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, (1992).

[2] Gladstone, Realtors v. Village of Bellwood, 441 U.S. 91, 99-100 (1979).

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