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Article III of the U.S. Constitution grants federal courts the power to adjudicate certain “cases” or “controversies.” This constitutional case-or-controversy clause provides the foundation for the doctrine of standing, a threshold inquiry plaintiffs must satisfy before a federal court may exercise subject-matter jurisdiction over a claim. Among other requirements, a plaintiff must show that he has suffered an “injury in fact” that is concrete and particularized as well as actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical. These standing requirements ensure that only an individual directly impacted by the violation or imposition of a law may sue to enforce or challenge it. Note, however, that the threshold question of whether a plaintiff has standing is distinct from the merits of the plaintiff’s claim. As such, a plaintiff may have standing to bring a suit but still may not be able to assert a claim successfully on the merits.

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