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The Case or Controversy Requirement and Other Preliminary Hurdles

By Jeffrey S. Gutman & Peyton Whiteley

The U.S. Constitution and the Supreme Court impose limits on the pursuit of federal litigation. Both standing and mootness doctrines stem from Article III's case and controversy requirement. The law of standing asks whether the plaintiff suffered or was threatened with injury in fact when filing the complaint; the law of mootness asks whether events after the filing of suit eliminated the controversy between the parties. The Supreme Court has established a three-part test for standing and rules regarding associational and third-party standing. Occasionally exhaustion of administrative remedies is required and, if pursued, may have preclusive effect.

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