Linda R. S. (petitioner) was the mother of an illegitimate child who attempted to bring an action under Article 602 of the Texas Penal Code against Richard D., the child’s father who had failed to pay child support. Article 602 provided that “any parent who shall willfully desert, neglect, or refuse to provide for the support and maintenance of his or her child or children under eighteen years of age, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction, shall be punished by confinement in the County Jail for not more than two years.” Linda approached her town’s district attorney to bring charges against Richard D., but the district attorney informed her that fathers of illegitimate children did not fall within the scope of Article 602. Thereafter, Linda brought an action in the district court on behalf of herself and others like her, to challenge the application of Article 602. Specifically, Linda sought an injunction to force the district attorney to bring an action against Richard D. The district court dismissed Linda’s suit for lack of standing and she appealed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.