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The constitutional limits on standing eliminate claims in which the plaintiff has failed to make out a case or controversy between himself and the defendant. In order to satisfy U.S. Const. art. III, the plaintiff must show that he personally has suffered some actual or threatened injury as a result of the putatively illegal conduct of the defendant.
Individual respondents told petitioners that they were interested in purchasing homes. However, they were not seeking to purchase homes, but were acting as "testers" to determine whether petitioners were engaged in racial "steering," directing prospective home buyers interested in equivalent properties to different areas according to their race. Individual respondents, as well as the municipality in which the steering had occurred, sued petitioners. The trial court dismissed the respondents’ suits, but the appellate court reversed. According to the appellate court, the respondents had standing to sue under § 812 of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C.S. § 3612 (The Fair Housing Act). Petitioners sought review of the decision.
Did the respondents have standing to sue under § 812 of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C.S. § 3612 (The Fair Housing Act)?
Yes, with respect to the respondents who lived in the municipality.
The Court affirmed in part, holding that the municipality and those testers who lived in the municipality had standing because they were alleging an actual injury to themselves in that petitioner's actions affected the community as a whole. The Court held, however, that two individual respondents had not alleged facts sufficient to confer standing because they did not live in the municipality in which the racial steering was allegedly occurring.