Because Federal Courts only have constitutional authority to resolve actual disputes (see Case or Controversy) legal actions cannot be brought before the challenged law or government action has produced a direct threat to the party suing. Before then, the matter is said to be not yet “ripe” for judicial resolution. For Supreme Court decisions focusing on the “ripeness” issue, see, e.g., Reno v. Catholic Social Servs., 509 U.S. 43 (1993) and Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council, 505 U.S. 1003 (1992). From Wex.
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