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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.

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

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

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.

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

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Additional Resources

Books and Treatises: Constitutional Law Subjects

Supreme Court Practice
Supreme Court Practice provides comprehensive guidance on all aspects of prosecuting or defending cases before the Supreme Court.
The Sovereign Immunity Defense
A comprehensive treatise explaining when civil action can be brought against states
Advertising & Commercial Speech: A First Amendment Guide
Provides a basic overview of first amendment protections in the United States
Rights for Visual Artists
Provides a basic overview of first amendment protections for visual artists
Federal Rules for the Supreme Court
Rules governing the procedures for cases heard before the United States Supreme Court.

Law Reports

Legal periodicals on Constitutional Law subjects
United States Law Week Privacy Law Watch
United States Constitution

Search Court Opinions

Constitutional Law Civil Rights Habeas Corpus

Constitutional Law News Topics

Constitutional Law Supreme Court Privacy

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