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CHAPTER 4

Special Limitations on Judicial Review of State Laws

§4.1 INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW

In Chapter 3 we saw that the ability of the federal courts to exercise the power of judicial review is constrained by the Article III case or controversy requirement and by the various justiciability doctrines that the Court has created in connection with it. In this chapter we explore five additional limitations that often arise when federal courts—and sometimes state courts—are asked to review the constitutionality of state laws. These limitations are the Eleventh Amendment, the Pullman doctrine, the Siler doctrine, the Younger doctrine, and the immunity of state and local officials from damages liability. While these limitations are distinct from one another, they share a common goal—rooted in principles of comity and federalism—of seeking to reduce or minimize federal judicial interference with the states.

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