Sunday, June 24, 2012

MBE Fast Fact: The 11th Amendment

A few points to remember in regards to Constitutional Law:

--The United States may sue a state without the state's consent.

--A state cannot sue the United States without the consent of the United States. A suit against a federal officer is deemed to be brought against the United States if the judgement would be satisfied out of the public treasury. Watch, however, for situations where the officer acted outside of his authority, in which case the act is deemed ultra vires, and the officer can be sued personally.

--A private party cannot sue a state in federal courts, and the basis behind this rule is the 11th Amendment. In addition, a private party cannot sue a state in state court, and the basis behind this rule is sovereign immunity. Neither the 11th Amendment, nor sovereign immunity, prevents a private party from suing local governments (as opposed to state governments). In addition, there are some actions that can be brought against state officials in federal court notwithstanding the 11th Amendment, including actions to enjoin an officer from future conduct that violates the Constitution or federal law, and actions for damages against the state official personally.

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