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CaseBriefs

State Sovereign Immunity

Generally, states are sovereign and cannot be sued in federal court without their consent. There are several exceptions to this rule, however.

A.
The Supreme Court may hear a case against a state appealed from the state court system.

B.
Federal courts can hear cases against a state brought by the federal government or by another state.

C.
Federal courts can hear cases against a state where the relief requested is prospective (such as an injunction), rather than retrospective (such as damages), and where the relief ostensibly runs against a state official rather than the state itself.

D.
Congress can abrogate a state’s sovereign immunity when legislating pursuant to its power to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment.

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