[Constitution of the United States of America:  Analysis, and Interpretation - 1992 Edition ]
[Amendments to the Constitution]
[Eleventh Amendment - Suits Against States]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]

[[Page 1519]]

                           ELEVENTH AMENDMENT


                          SUITS AGAINST STATES



        State Immunity............................................  1521
        Purpose and Early Interpretation..........................  1521
                Expansion of the Immunity of the States...........  1525
        The Nature of the States' Immunity........................  1527
        Suits Against States......................................  1531
                Consent to Suit and Waiver........................  1531
                Congressional Withdrawal of Immunity..............  1533
        Suits Against State Officials.............................  1537
        Tort Actions Against State Officials......................  1544

[[Page 1521]]

                           ELEVENTH AMENDMENT
                          SUITS AGAINST STATES


  The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to 
extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one 
of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or 
Subjects of any Foreign State.

                             STATE IMMUNITY

      Purpose and Early Interpretation

        Eleventh Amendment jurisprudence has become over the years 
esoteric and abstruse and the decisions inconsistent. At the same time, 
it is a vital element of federal jurisdiction that ``go[es] to the very 
heart of [the] federal system and affect[s] the allocation of power 
between the United States and the several states.''\1\ Because of the 
centrality of the Amendment at the intersection of federal judicial 
power and the accountability of the States and their officers to federal 
constitutional standards, it has occasioned considerable dispute within 
and without the Court.\2\

        \1\C. Wright, The Law of Federal Courts Sec. 48 at 286 (4th ed. 
        \2\An extraordinary amount of writing on the Amendment and its 
interpretation has appeared in recent years. See, e.g., Field, The 
Eleventh Amendment and Other Sovereign Immunity Doctrines: Part One, 126 
U. Pa. L. Rev. 515 (1978); Field, The Eleventh Amendment and Other 
Sovereign Immunity Doctrines: Congressional Imposition of Suit Upon the 
States, 126 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1203 (1978); Baker, Federalism and the 
Eleventh Amendment, 48 U. Colo. L. Rev. 139 (1977); Tribe, 
Intergovernmental Immunities in Litigation, Taxation, and Regulation: 
Separation of Powers Issues in Controversies About Federalism, 89 Harv. 
L. Rev. 682 (1976); Gibbons, The Eleventh Amendment and State Sovereign 
Immunity: A Reinterpretation, 83 Colum. L. Rev. 1889 (1983); Fletcher, A 
Historical Interpretation of the Eleventh Amendment: A Narrow 
Construction of an Affirmative Grant of Jurisdiction Rather than a 
Prohibition Against Jurisdiction, 35 Stan. L. Rev. 1033 (1983); Orth, 
The Interpretation of the Eleventh Amendment, 1798-1908: A Case Study of 
Judicial Power, 1983 U. Ill. L. Rev. 423; Nowak, The Scope of 
Congressional Power to Create Causes of Action Against State Government 
and the History of the Eleventh and Fourteenth Amendments, 75 Colum. L. 
Rev. 1413 (1975).

        The action of the Supreme Court in accepting jurisdiction of a 
suit against a State by a citizen of another State in 1793\3\ provoked 
such angry reaction in Georgia and such anxieties in other States that 
at the first meeting of Congress following the decision the Eleventh 
Amendment was proposed by an overwhelming vote of both Houses and 
ratified with, what was for that day, ``vehement

[[Page 1522]]
speed.''\4\ Chisholm had been brought under that part of the 
jurisdictional provision of Article III that authorized cognizance of 
``controversies . . . between a State and Citizens of another State.'' 
At the time of the ratification debates, opponents of the proposed 
Constitution had objected to the subjection of a State to suits in 
federal courts and had been met with conflicting responses--- on the one 
hand, an admission that the accusation was true and that it was entirely 
proper so to provide, and, on the other hand, that the accusation was 
false and the clause applied only when a State was the party 
plaintiff.\5\ So matters stood when Congress, in enacting the Judiciary 
Act of 1789, without recorded controversy gave the Supreme Court 
original jurisdiction of suits between States and citizens of other 
States.\6\ Chisholm v. Georgia was brought under this jurisdictional 
provision to recover under a contract for supplies executed with the 
State during the Revolution. Four of the five Justices agreed that a 
State could be sued under this Article III jurisdictional provision and 
that under section 13 the Supreme Court properly had original 

        \3\Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 U.S. (2 Dall.) 419 (1793).
        \4\The phrase is Justice Frankfurter's, from Larson v. Domestic 
& Foreign Commerce Corp., 337 U.S. 682, 708 (1949) (dissenting), a 
federal sovereign immunity case. The amendment was proposed on March 4, 
1794, when it passed the House; ratification occurred on February 7, 
1795, when the twelfth State acted, there then being fifteen States in 
the Union.
        \5\The Convention adopted this provision largely as it came from 
the Committee on Detail, without recorded debate. 2 M. Farrand, The 
Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 423-25 (rev. ed. 1937). In the 
Virginia ratifying convention, George Mason, who had refused to sign the 
proposed Constitution, objected to making States subject to suit, 3 J. 
Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the 
Federal Constitution 526-27 (1836), but both Madison and John Marshall 
(the latter had not been a delegate at Philadelphia) denied States could 
be made party defendants, id. at 533, 555-56, while Randolph (who had 
been a delegate, as well as a member of the Committee on Detail) granted 
that States could be and ought to be subject to suit. Id. at 573. James 
Wilson, a delegate and member of the Committee on Detail, seemed to say 
in the Pennsylvania ratifying convention that States would be subject to 
suit. 2 id. at 491. See Hamilton, in The Federalist No. 81 (Modern 
Library ed. 1937), also denying state suability. See Fletcher, supra 
n.2, at 1045-53 (discussing sources and citing other discussions).
        \6\Ch. 20, Sec. 13, 1 Stat. 80 (1789). See also Fletcher, supra 
n.2, at 1053-54. For a thorough consideration of passage of the Act 
itself, see J. Goebel, History of The Supreme Court of the United 
States: Vol. 1, Antecedents and Beginnings to 1801 457-508 (1971).
        \7\Id. at 723-34; Fletcher, supra n.2, at 1054-58.

        The Amendment proposed by Congress and ratified by the States 
was directed specifically toward overturning the result in Chisholm and 
preventing suits against States by citizens of other States or by 
citizens or subjects of foreign jurisdictions. It did not, as other 
possible versions of the Amendment would have done, altogether bar suits 
against States in the federal courts.\8\ That is, it

[[Page 1523]]
barred suits against States based on the status of the party plaintiff 
and did not address the instance of suits based on the nature of the 
subject matter.\9\ The early decisions seemed to reflect this 
understanding of the Amendment, although the point was not necessary to 
the decisions and thus the language is dictum.\10\ In Cohens v. 
Virginia,\11\ Chief Justice Marshall ruled for the Court that the 
prosecution of a writ of error to review a judgment of a state court 
alleged to be in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United 
States did not commence or prosecute a suit against the State but was 
simply a continuation of one commenced by the State, and thus could be 
brought under Sec. 25 of the Judiciary Act of 1789.\12\ But in the 
course of the opinion, the Chief Justice attributed adoption of the 
Eleventh Amendment not to objections to subjecting States to suits per 
se but to well-founded concerns about creditors being able to maintain 
suits in federal courts for payment,\13\ and stated his view that the 
Eleventh Amendment did not

[[Page 1524]]
bar suits against the States under federal question jurisdiction\14\ and 
did not in any case reach suits against a State by its own citizens.\15\

        \8\Id. at 1058-63; Goebel, supra n.6, at 736.
        \9\Party status is one part of the Article III grant of 
jurisdiction, as in diversity of citizenship of the parties; subject 
matter jurisdiction is the other part, as in federal question or 
admiralty jurisdiction.
        \10\One square holding, however, was that of Justice Washington, 
on Circuit, in United States v. Bright, 24 Fed. Cas. 1232 (C.C.D.Pa. 
1809) (No. 14,647), that the Eleventh Amendment's reference to ``any 
suit in law or equity'' excluded admiralty cases, so that States were 
subject to suits in admiralty. This understanding, see Governor of 
Georgia v. Madrazo, 26 U.S. (1 Pet.) 110, 124 (1828); 3 J. Story, 
Commentaries of the Constitution of the United States 560-61 (1833), did 
not receive a holding of the Court during this period, see Georgia v. 
Madrazo, supra; United States v. Peters, 9 U.S. (5 Cr.) 115 (1809); Ex 
parte Madrazo, 32 U.S. (7 Pet.) 627 (1833), and was held to be in error 
in Ex parte New York (No. 1), 256 U.S. 490 (1921).
        \11\19 U.S. (6 Wheat.) 264 (1821).
        \12\1 Stat. 73, 85, supra, pp.701-05, 723-25.
        \13\``It is a part of our history that, at the adoption of the 
constitution, all the states were greatly indebted; and the apprehension 
that these debts might be prosecuted in the federal courts, formed a 
very serious objection to that instrument. Suits were instituted; and 
the court maintained its jurisdiction. The alarm was general; and, to 
quiet the apprehensions that were so extensively entertained, this 
amendment was proposed in congress, and adopted by the state 
legislatures. That its motive was not to maintain the sovereignty of a 
state from the degradation supposed to attend a compulsory appearance 
before the tribunal of the nation, may be inferred from the terms of the 
amendment. It does not comprehend controversies between two or more 
states, or between a state and a foreign state. The jurisdiction of the 
court still extends to these cases: and in these, a state may still be 
sued. We must ascribe the amendment, then, to some other cause than the 
dignity of a state. There is no difficulty in finding this cause. Those 
who were inhibited from commencing a suit against a state, or from 
prosecuting one which might be commenced before the adoption of the 
amendment, were persons who might probably be its creditors. There was 
not much reason to fear that foreign or sister states would be creditors 
to any considerable amount, and there was reason to retain the 
jurisdiction of the court in those cases, because it might be essential 
to the preservation of peace. The amendment, therefore, extended to 
suits commenced or prosecuted by individuals, but not to those brought 
by states.'' 6 Wheat. at 406-07.
        \14\``The powers of the Union, on the great subjects of war, 
peace and commerce, and on many others, are in themselves limitations of 
the sovereignty of the states; but in addition to these, the sovereignty 
of the states is surrendered, in many instances, where the surrender can 
only operate to the benefit of the people, and where, perhaps, no other 
power is conferred on congress than a conservative power to maintain the 
principles established in the constitution. The maintenance of these 
principles in their purity, is certainly among the great duties of the 
government. One of the instruments by which this duty may be peaceably 
performed, is the judicial department. It is authorized to decide all 
cases of every description, arising under the constitution or laws of 
the United States. From this general grant of jurisdiction, no exception 
is made of those cases in which a state may be a party. . . . [A]re we 
at liberty to insert in this general grant, an exception of those cases 
in which a state may be a party? Will the spirit of the constitution 
justify this attempt to control its words? We think it will not. We 
think a case arising under the constitution or laws of the United 
States, is cognizable in the courts of the Union, whoever may be the 
parties to that case.'' Id. at 382-83.
        \15\``If this writ of error be a suit, in the sense of the 11th 
amendment, it is not a suit commenced or prosecuted `by a citizen of 
another state, or by a citizen or subject of any foreign state.' It is 
not, then, within the amendment, but is governed entirely by the 
constitution as originally framed, and we have already seen, that in its 
origin, the judicial power was extended to all cases arising under the 
constitution or laws of the United States, without respect to parties.'' 
Id. at 412.

        In Osborn v. Bank of the United States,\16\ the Court, again 
through Chief Justice Marshall, held that the Bank of the United 
States\17\ could sue the Treasurer of Ohio, over Eleventh Amendment 
objections, because the plaintiff sought relief against a state officer 
rather than against the State itself. This ruling embodied two 
principles, one of which has survived and one of which the Marshall 
Court itself soon abandoned. The latter holding was that a suit is not 
one against a State unless the State is a named party of record.\18\ The 
former holding, the primary rationale through which the strictures of 
the Amendment are escaped, is that a state official possesses no 
official capacity when acting illegally and thus

[[Page 1525]]
can derive no protection from an unconstitutional statute of a 

        \16\22 U.S. (9 Wheat.) 738 (1824).
        \17\The Bank of the United States was treated as if it were a 
private citizen, rather than as the United States itself, and hence a 
suit by it was a diversity suit by a corporation, as if it were a suit 
by the individual shareholders. Bank of the United States v. Deveaux, 9 
U.S. (5 Cr.) 61 (1809).
        \18\9 Wheat. at 850-58. For a reassertion of the Chief Justice's 
view of the limited effect of the Amendment, see id. at 857-58. But 
compare id. at 849. The holding was repudiated in Governor of Georgia v. 
Madrazo, 26 U.S. (1 Pet.) 110 (1828), in which it was conceded that the 
suit had been brought against the governor solely in his official 
capacity and with the design of forcing him to exercise his official 
powers. It is now well settled that in determining whether a suit is 
prosecuted against a State ``the Court will look behind and through the 
nominal parties on the record to ascertain who are the real parties to 
the suit.'' In re Ayers, 123 U.S. 443, 487 (1887).
        \19\9 Wheat. at 858-59, 868. For the flowering of the principle, 
see Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908).

        Expansion of the Immunity of the States.--Until the period 
following the Civil War, Chief Justice Marshall's understanding of the 
Amendment generally prevailed. But in the aftermath of that conflict, 
Congress for the first time effectively gave the federal courts general 
federal question jurisdiction,\20\ and a large number of States in the 
South defaulted upon their revenue bonds in violation of the Contracts 
Clause of the Constitution.\21\ As bondholders sought relief in federal 
courts, the Supreme Court gradually worked itself into the position of 
holding that the Eleventh Amendment, or more properly speaking the 
principles ``of which the Amendment is but an exemplification,''\22\ is 
a bar not only of suits against a State by citizens of other States, but 
also of suits brought by citizens of that State itself.\23\ Expansion as 
a formal holding occurred in Hans v. Louisiana,\24\ a suit against the 
State by a resident of that State brought in federal court under federal 
question jurisdiction, alleging a violation of the Contracts Clause in 
the State's repudiation of its obligation to pay interest on certain 
bonds. Admitting that the Amendment on its face prohibited only the 
entertaining of a suit against a State by citizens of another State, or 
citizens or subjects of a foreign state, the Court nonetheless thought 
the literal language was an insufficient basis for decision. Rather, 
wrote Justice Bradley for the Court, the Eleventh Amendment was a result 
of the ``shock of surprise throughout the country'' at the Chisholm 
decision and reflected the determination that that decision was wrong 
and that federal jurisdiction did not extend to making defendants of 
unwilling States.\25\ The amendment reversed an erroneous decision and 
restored the proper interpretation of the Constitution. The views of the 
opponents of subjecting States to suit ``were most sensible and just'' 
and those views

[[Page 1526]]
``apply equally to the present case as to that then under discussion. 
The letter is appealed to now, as it was then, as a ground for 
sustaining a suit brought by an individual against a State. The reason 
against it is as strong in this case as it was in that. It is an attempt 
to strain the Constitution and the law to a construction never imagined 
or dreamed of.''\26\ ``The truth is, that the cognizance of suits and 
actions unknown to the law, and forbidden by the law, was not 
contemplated by the Constitution when establishing the judicial power of 
the United States. . . . The suability of a State without its consent 
was a thing unknown to the law.''\27\ Thus, while the literal terms of 
the Amendment did not so provide, ``the manner in which [Chisholm] was 
received by the country, the adoption of the Eleventh Amendment, the 
light of history and the reason of the thing,''\28\ led the Court 
unanimously to hold that States could not be sued by their own citizens 
on grounds arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States.

        \20\Act of March 3, 1875, ch. 137, Sec. 1, 18 Stat. 470. See 
discussion supra, pp. 713-14.
        \21\See, e.g., Orth, The Eleventh Amendment and the North 
Carolina State Debt, 59 N.C. L. Rev. 747 (1981); Orth, The Fair Fame and 
Name of Louisiana: The Eleventh Amendment and the End of Reconstruction, 
2 Tul. Law. 2 (1980); Orth, The Virginia State Debt and the Judicial 
Power of the United States, in Ambivalent Legacy: A Legal History of the 
South 106 (D. Bodenhamer & J. Ely eds.) (1983).
        \22\Ex parte New York (No. 1), 256 U.S. 490, 497 (1921).
        \23\E.g., In re Ayers, 123 U.S. 443 (1887); Hagood v. Southern, 
117 U.S. 52 (1886); The Virginia Coupon Cases, 114 U.S. 269 (1885); 
Cunningham v. Macon & Brunswick R.R. Co., 109 U.S. 446 (1883); Louisiana 
v. Jumel, 107 U.S. 711 (1882). In Antoni v. Greenhow, 107 U.S. 769, 783 
(1883), three concurring Justices propounded the broader reading of the 
Amendment which soon prevailed.
        \24\134 U.S. 1 (1890).
        \25\Id. at 11.
        \26\Id. at 14-15.
        \27\Id. at 15-16.
        \28\Id. at 18-19. The Court acknowledged that Chief Justice 
Marshall's opinion in Cohens v. Virginia, 19 U.S. (6 Wheat.) 264, 382-
83, 406-07, 410-12 (1821), was to the contrary, but observed that the 
language was unnecessary to the decision and thus dictum, ``and though 
made by one who seldom used words without due reflection, ought not to 
outweigh the important considerations referred to which lead to a 
different conclusion.'' 134 U.S. at 20. For the continuing vitality of 
Hans, see infra, text at nn.55-56.

        Then, in Ex parte New York (No. 1),\29\ the Court held that, 
absent consent to suit, a State was immune to suit in admiralty, the 
Eleventh Amendment's reference to ``any suit in law or equity'' 
notwithstanding. ``That a State may not be sued without its consent is a 
fundamental rule of jurisprudence . . . of which the Amendment is but an 
exemplification. . . . It is true the Amendment speaks only of suits in 
law or equity; but this is because . . . the Amendment was the outcome 
of a purpose to set aside the effect of the decision of this court in 
Chisholm v. Georgia . . . from which it naturally came to pass that the 
language of the Amendment was particularly phrased so as to reverse the 
construction adopted in that case.''\30\ Just as Hans v. Louisiana had 
demonstrated the ``impropriety of construing the Amendment'' so as to 
permit federal question suits against a State, so ``it seems to us 
equally clear that it cannot with propriety be construed to leave open a 
suit against a State in the admiralty jurisdiction by individuals, 
whether its citizens or not.''\31\

        \29\256 U.S. 490 (1921).
        \30\Id. at 497-98.
        \31\Id. at 498. See also Florida Dep't of State v. Treasure 
Salvors, 458 U.S. 670 (1982). And see Welch v. Texas Dep't of Highways & 
Pub. Transp., 483 U.S. 468 (1987).


[[Page 1527]]

        And in extending protection against suits brought by foreign 
governments, the Court made clear the immunity flowed not from the 
Eleventh Amendment but from concepts of state sovereign immunity 
generally. ``Manifestly, we cannot . . . assume that the letter of the 
Eleventh Amendment exhausts the restrictions upon suits against 
nonconsenting States. Behind the words of the constitutional provisions 
are postulates which limit and control. There is the . . . postulate 
that States of the Union, still possessing attributes of sovereignty, 
shall be immune from suits, without their consent, save where there has 
been `a surrender of this immunity in the plan of the convention.'''\32\

        \32\Principality of Monaco v. Mississippi, 292 U.S. 313, 322-23 
(1934) (quoting The Federalist No. 81). Similarly, the Court has 
recently held, relying on Monaco, the Amendment bars suits by Indian 
tribes against non-consenting states. Blatchford v. Native Village of 
Noatak, 501 U.S. 775 (1991).
      The Nature of the States' Immunity

        A great deal of the difficulty in interpreting and applying the 
Eleventh Amendment stems from the fact that the Court has not been 
clear, or at least has not been consistent, with respect to what the 
Amendment really does and how it relates to the other parts of the 
Constitution. One view of the Amendment, set out above in the discussion 
of Hans v. Louisiana, Ex parte New York, and Principality of Monaco, is 
that Chisholm was erroneously decided and that the Amendment's effect, 
its express language notwithstanding, was to restore the ``original 
understanding'' that Article III's grants of federal court jurisdiction 
did not extend to suits against the States. That view finds present day 
expression.\33\ It explains the decision in Edelman v. Jordan,\34\ in 
which the Court held that a State could properly raise its Eleventh 
Amendment defense on appeal after having defended and lost on the merits 
in the trial court. ``[I]t has been well settled . . . that the Eleventh 
Amendment defense sufficiently partakes of the nature of a 
jurisdictional bar so

[[Page 1528]]
that it need not be raised in the trial court.''\35\ But that the bar is 
not wholly jurisdictional seems established as well.\36\

        \33\E.g., Employees of the Dep't of Public Health and Welfare v. 
Department of Public Health and Welfare, 411 U.S. 279, 291-92 (1973) 
(Justice Marshall concurring); Nevada v. Hall, 440 U.S. 410, 420-21 
(1979); Patsy v. Florida Board of Regents, 457 U.S. 496, 520 (1982) 
(Justice Powell dissenting).
        \34\415 U.S. 651 (1974).
        \35\Id. at 678. The Court relied on Ford Motor Co. v. Department 
of Treasury, 323 U.S. 459 (1945), where the issue was whether state 
officials who had voluntarily appeared in federal court had authority 
under state law to waive the State's immunity. Edelman has been followed 
in Sosna v. Iowa, 419 U.S. 393, 396 n.2 (1975); Mt. Healthy City Bd. of 
Educ. v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274, 278 (1977), with respect to the Court's 
responsibility to raise the Eleventh Amendment jurisdictional issue on 
its own motion. But see infra, n.36.
        \36\See Patsy v. Florida Board of Regents, 457 U.S. 496, 515-16 
n.19 (1982), in which the Court bypassed the Eleventh Amendment issue, 
which had been brought to its attention, because of the interest of the 
parties in having the question resolved on the merits. See id. at 520 
(Justice Powell dissenting).

        Moreover, if under Article III there is no jurisdiction of suits 
against States, the settled principle that States may consent to 
suit\37\ becomes conceptually difficult, inasmuch as it is not possible 
to confer jurisdiction where it is lacking through the consent of the 
parties.\38\ And there is jurisdiction under Article III of some suits 
against States, such as those brought by the United States or by other 
States.\39\ And, furthermore, Congress is able in at least some 
instances to legislate away state immunity,\40\ although it may not 
enlarge Article III jurisdiction.\41\ The Court has recently declared 
that ``the principle of sovereign immunity [reflected in the Eleventh 
Amendment] is a constitutional limitation on the federal judicial power 
established in Art. III,'' but almost in the same breath has 
acknowledged that ``[a] sovereign's immunity may be waived.''\42\

        \37\Clark v. Barnard, 108 U.S. 436 (1883).
        \38\E.g., People's Band v. Calhoun, 102 U.S. 256, 260-61 (1880). 
See Justice Powell's explanation in Patsy v. Florida Board of Regents, 
457, U.S. 496, 528 n.13 (1982) (dissenting) (no jurisdiction under 
Article III of suits against unconsenting States).
        \39\See, e.g., the Court's express rejection of the Eleventh 
Amendment defense in these cases. United States v. Texas, 143 U.S. 621 
(1892); South Dakota v. North Carolina, 192 U.S. 286 (1904).
        \40\E.g., Fitzpatrick v. Bitzer, 427 U.S. 445 (1976).
        \41\The principal citation is, of course, Marbury v. Madison, 5 
U.S. (1 Cr.) 137 (1803).
        \42\Pennhurst State School & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 
98, 99 (1984).

        Another explanation of the Eleventh Amendment is that it 
recognizes the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which was clearly 
established at the time: a state was not subject to suit without its 
consent.\43\ The Court in dealing with questions of governmental 
immunity from suit has traditionally treated interchangeably precedents 
dealing with state immunity and those dealing with fed

[[Page 1529]]
eral governmental immunity.\44\ Viewing the Amendment and its radiations 
into Article III in this way provides a consistent explanation of the 
consent to suit as a waiver.\45\ The limited effect of the doctrine in 
this context in federal court arises from the fact that traditional 
sovereign immunity arose in a unitary state, barring unconsented suit 
against a sovereign in its own courts or the courts of another 
sovereign. But upon entering the Union the States surrendered their 
sovereignty to some undetermined and changing degree to the national 
government, a sovereign that does not have plenary power over them but 
which is more than their coequal.\46\

        \43\As Justice Holmes explained, the doctrine is based ``on the 
logical and practical ground that there can be no legal right as against 
the authority that makes the law on which the right depends.'' 
Kawananakoa v. Polyblank, 205 U.S. 349, 353 (1907). On the sovereign 
immunity of the United States, see supra, pp.746-48. For the history and 
jurisprudence, see Jaffe, Suits Against Governments and Officers: 
Sovereign Immunity, 77 Harv. L. Rev. 1 (1963).
        \44\See, e.g., United States v. Lee, 106 U.S. 196, 210-14 
(1882); Belknap v. Schild, 161 U.S. 10, 18 (1896); Hopkins v. Clemson 
Agricultural College, 221 U.S. 636, 642-43, 645 (1911).
        \45\A sovereign may consent to suit. E.g., United States v. 
Sherwood, 312 U.S. 584, 586 (1941); United States v. United States 
Fidelity & Guaranty Co., 309 U.S. 506, 514 (1940).
        \46\See Fletcher, supra n.2.

        Thus, outside the area of federal court jurisdiction, there is 
the case of Nevada v. Hall,\47\ which perfectly illustrates the 
difficulty. The case arose when a California resident sued a Nevada 
state agency in a California court because one of the agency's employees 
negligently injured him in an automobile accident in California. While 
recognizing that the rule during the framing of the Constitution was 
that a State could not be sued without its consent in the courts of 
another sovereign, the Court discerned no evidence in the federal 
constitutional structure, in the specific language, or in the intention 
of the Framers that would impose a general, federal constitutional 
constraint upon the action of a State in authorizing suit in its own 
courts against another State. The Court did imply that in some cases a 
``substantial threat to our constitutional system of cooperative 
federalism'' might arise and occasion a different result, but this was 
not such a case.\48\

        \47\440 U.S. 410 (1979).
        \48\Id. at 424 n.24. The Court looked to the full faith and 
credit clause as a possible constitutional limitation. The dissent would 
have found implicit constitutional assurance of state immunity as an 
essential component of federalism. Id. at 427 (Justice Blackmun), 432 
(Justice Rehnquist).

        Within the area of federal court jurisdiction, the issue becomes 
the extent to which the States upon entering the Union gave up their 
immunity to suit in federal court. Chisholm held, and the Eleventh 
Amendment reversed the holding, that the States had given up their 
immunity to suit in diversity cases based on common law or state law 
causes of action; Hans v. Louisiana and subsequent cases held that the 
Amendment in effect codified an understanding of broader immunity to 
suits based on federal causes of

[[Page 1530]]
action.\49\ Other cases have held that the States did give up their 
immunity to suits by the United States or by other States and that 
subjection to suit continues.\50\ These understandings continue and the 
major question unresolved is the extent to which Congress under its 
granted powers may remove state immunity to suit in federal court.\51\

        \49\For a while only Justice Brennan advocated this view, Parden 
v. Terminal Ry., 377 U.S. 184 (1964); Employees of the Dep't of Public 
Health and Welfare v. Department of Public Health and Welfare, 411 U.S. 
279, 298 (1973) (dissenting), but in time he was joined by three others. 
See, e.g., Atascadero State Hosp. v. Scanlon, 473 U.S. 234, 247 (1985) 
(Justice Brennan, joined by Justices Marshall, Blackmun, and Stevens), 
and other cases cited in n.55, infra.
        \50\E.g., United States v. Texas, 143 U.S. 621 (1892); South 
Dakota v. North Carolina, 192 U.S. 286 (1904).
        \51\Infra, pp.1533-37.

        Still another view of the Eleventh Amendment is that it embodies 
a state sovereignty principle limiting the power of the Federal 
Government.\52\ In this respect, the federal courts may not act without 
congressional guidance in subjecting States to suit, and Congress, which 
can act to the extent of its granted powers, is constrained by 
judicially-created doctrines requiring it to be explicit when it 
legislates against state immunity.\53\

        \52\E.g., Fitzpatrick v. Bitzer, 427 U.S. 445, 456 (1976); Quern 
v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 337 (1979).
        \53\See Hutto v. Finney, 437 U.S. 678 (1978), in which the 
various opinions differ among themselves on the degree of explicitness 
required. See also Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 343-45 (1979). Later 
cases stiffened the rule of construction. See n.56 infra and, text at 
nn.79-84. The parallelism of congressional power to regulate and to 
legislate away immunity is not exact. Thus, in Employees of the Dep't of 
Public Health and Welfare v. Department of Public Health and Welfare, 
411 U.S. 279 (1973), the Court strictly construed congressional 
provision of suits as not reaching States, while in Maryland v. Wirtz, 
392 U.S. 183 (1968), it had sustained the constitutionality of the 
substantive law.

        Considerable ideological agitation within a closely divided 
Court has now resulted in parallel rulings that continue the 
inconsistencies, or, perhaps, the incoherence, of Eleventh Amendment 
jurisprudence. Thus, it is established, though somewhat tentatively, 
that Congress may abrogate state immunity under its Article I 
powers.\54\ At the same time a narrow majority subscribes to the Hans 
view of the meaning of the Amendment, that it is a constitutional bar to 
federal jurisdiction, across the board, without reference to its 
specific language.

        \54\See infra, text accompanying n.76.

        In the 1980s four Justices, led by Justice Brennan, argued that 
Hans was incorrectly decided, that the Amendment was intended only to 
deny jurisdiction against the States in diversity cases, and that Hans 
and its progeny should be overruled.\55\ But the remain

[[Page 1531]]
ing five Justices adhered to Hans and in fact stiffened it with a rule 
of construction quite severe in its effect.\56\

        \55\E.g., Atascadero State Hosp. v. Scanlon, 473 U.S. 234, 247 
(1985) (dissenting); Welch v. Texas Dep't of Highways & Pub. Transp., 
483 U.S. 468, 496 (1987) (dissenting); Dellmuth v. Muth, 491 U.S. 223, 
233 (1989) (dissenting); Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corp. v. Feeney, 
495 U.S. 299, 309 (1990) (concurring). Joining Justice Brennan were 
Justices Marshall, Blackmun, and Stevens. See also Pennsylvania v. Union 
Gas Co., 491 U.S. 1, 23 (1989) (Justice Stevens concurring).
        \56\E.g., Pennhurst State School & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 
89, 97-103 (1984) (opinion of the Court by Justice Powell); Atascadero 
State Hosp. v. Scanlon, 473 U.S. 234, 237-40, 243-44 n. 3 (1985) 
(opinion of the Court by Justice Powell); Welch v. Texas Dep't of 
Highways & Pub. Transp., 483 U.S. 468, 472-74, 478-95 (1987) (plurality 
opinion of Justice Powell); Pennsylvania v. Union Gas Co., 491 U.S. 1, 
29 (1989) (Justice Scalia concurring in part and dissenting in part); 
Dellmuth v. Muth, 491 U.S. 223, 227-32 (1989) (opinion of the Court by 
Justice Kennedy); Hoffman v. Connecticut Dep't of Income Maintenance, 
492 U.S. 96, 101 (1989) (plurality opinion of Justice White); id. at 
2824 (concurring opinions of Justices O'Connor and Scalia); Port 
Authority Trans-Hudson Corp. v. Feeney, 495 U.S. 299, 305 (1990) 
(opinion of the Court by Justice O'Connor).
      Suits Against States

        Aside from suits against States by the United States and by 
other States, there are permissible suits by individuals against States 
upon federal constitutional and statutory grounds and indeed upon 
grounds expressly covered by the Eleventh Amendment in somewhat fewer 

        Consent to Suit and Waiver.--The immunity of a State from suit 
is a privilege which it may waive at its pleasure. It may do so by a law 
specifically consenting to suit in the federal courts.\57\ But the 
conclusion that there has been consent or a waiver is not lightly 
inferred; the Court strictly construes statutes alleged to consent to 
suit. Thus, a State may waive its immunity in its own courts without 
consenting to suit in federal court,\58\ and a general authorization 
``to sue and be sued'' is ordinarily insufficient to constitute 
consent.\59\ ``The Court will give effect to a State's waiver of 
Eleventh Amendment immunity `only where stated by the most express 
language or by such overwhelming implication from the text as [will] 
leave no room for any other reasonable construction.' . . . A State does 
not waive its Eleventh Amendment immunity by consenting to suit only in 
its own courts . . . and `[t]hus, in order for a state statute or 
constitutional provision to constitute a waiver of Eleventh Amendment 
immunity, it must specify the State's inten

[[Page 1532]]
tion to subject itself to suit in federal court.'''\60\ In this case, an 
expansive consent ``to suits, actions, or proceedings of any form or 
nature at law, in equity or otherwise . . .'' was deemed too ``ambiguous 
and general'' to waive immunity in federal court, since it might be 
interpreted to ``reflect only a State's consent to suit in its own 
courts. But when combined with language specifying that consent was 
conditioned on venue being laid ``within a county or judicial district, 
established by one of said States or by the United States, and situated 
wholly or partially within the Port of New York District,'' waiver was 
effective.\61\ While the Court in a few cases has found a waiver by 
implication, the current vitality of these cases is questionable. Thus, 
in Parden v. Terminal Railway,\62\ the Court ruled that employees of a 
state-owned railroad could sue the State for damages under the Federal 
Employers' Liability Act. One of the two primary grounds for finding 
lack of immunity was that by taking control of a railroad which was 
subject to the FELA, that had been enacted some 20 years previously, the 
State had effectively accepted the imposition of the Act and consented 
to suit.\63\ Distinguishing Parden as involving a proprietary activity, 
the Court subsequently refused to find any implied consent to suit by 
States participating in federal spending programs; participation was 
insufficient, and only when waiver has been ``stated by the most express 
language or by such overwhelming implications from the text as [will] 
leave no room for any other reasonable construction,'' will it be 
found.\64\ This aspect of Parden has now been overruled, a plurality of 
the Court emphasizing that congressional abrogation of immunity must be 
express and unmistakable.\65\

        \57\Gunter v. Atlantic Coast Line R.R., 200 U.S. 273, 284 
        \58\Smith v. Reeves, 178 U.S. 436 (1900); Murray v. Wilson 
Distilling Co., 213 U.S. 151, 172 (1909); Graves v. Texas Co., 298 U.S. 
393, 403-04 (1936); Great Northern Life Ins. Co. v. Read, 322 U.S. 47 
        \59\Great Northern Life Ins. Co. v. Read, 322 U.S. 47, 54 
(1944); Ford Motor Co. v. Department of Treasury, 323 U.S. 459 (1945); 
Kennecott Copper Corp. v. State Tax Comm'n, 327 U.S. 573 (1947); Petty 
v. Tennessee-Missouri Bridge Comm'n, 359 U.S. 275 (1959); Florida Dep't 
of Health v. Florida Nursing Home Ass'n, 450 U.S. 147 (1981). Compare 
Patsy v. Florida Bd. of Regents, 457 U.S. 496, 519 n.* (1982) (Justice 
White concurring), with id. at 522 and n.5 (Justice Powell dissenting).
        \60\Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corp. v. Feeney, 495 U.S. 299, 
305-06 (1990) (internal citations omitted; emphasis in original).
        \61\Id. at 306-07. See, on the other hand, Atascadero State 
Hosp. v. Scanlon, 473 U.S. 234, 241 (1985).
        \62\377 U.S. 184 (1964). The alternative but interwoven ground 
had to do with Congress' power to withdraw immunity. See also Petty v. 
Tennessee-Missouri Bridge Comm'n, 359 U.S. 275 (1959).
        \63\Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 671-72 (1974). For the same 
distinction in the Tenth Amendment context, see National League of 
Cities v. Usery, 426 U.S. 833, 854 n.18 (1976).
        \64\Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651 (1974) (quoting id. at 673, 
Murray v. Wilson Distilling Co., 213 U.S. 151, 171 (1909)); Florida 
Dep't of Health v. Florida Nursing Home Ass'n, 450 U.S. 147 (1981). Of 
the four Edelman dissenters, Justices Marshall and Blackmun found waiver 
through knowing participation, id. at 415 U.S., 688. In Florida Dep't, 
Justice Stevens noted he would have agreed with them had he been on the 
Court at the time but that he would now adhere to Edelman. Id. at 151.
        \65\Welch v. Texas Dep't of Highways and Pub. Transp., 483 U.S. 
468 (1987). Justice Powell's plurality opinion was joined by Chief 
Justice Rehnquist and by Justices White and O'Connor. Justice Scalia, 
concurring, thought Parden should be overruled because it must be 
assumed that Congress enacted the FELA and other statutes with the 
understanding that Hans v. Louisiana shielded states from immunity. Id. 
at 495.


[[Page 1533]]

        Similarly, the State may waive its immunity by initiating or 
participating in litigation. In Clark v. Barnard,\66\ the State had 
filed a claim for disputed money deposited in a federal court, and the 
Court held that the State could not thereafter complain when the court 
awarded the money to another claimant. However, the Court is loath to 
find a waiver simply because of the decision of an official or an 
attorney representing the State, because of the question of the ability 
of the individual to act under state law to make a valid waiver, with 
the result that the State may at any point in litigation raise a claim 
of immunity.\67\

        \66\108 U.S. 436 (1883).
        \67\Ford Motor Co. v. Department of Treasury, 323 U.S. 459, 466-
467 (1945); Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 677-678 (1974).

        With respect to governmental entities that derive their 
authority from the State, but are not the State, the Court closely 
examines state law to determine what the nature of the entity is, 
whether it is an arm of the State or whether it is to be treated like a 
municipal corporation or other political subdivision. An arm of the 
State has immunity: ``agencies exercising state power have been 
permitted to invoke the Amendment in order to protect the state treasury 
from liability that would have had essentially the same practical 
consequences as a judgment against the State itself.''\68\ Municipal 
corporations, though they partake under state law of the State's 
immunity, do not have immunity in federal court and the States may not 
confer it.\69\ Entities created through interstate compacts (subject to 
congressional approval) generally also are subject to suit.\70\

        \68\Lake County Estates v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 440 
U.S. 391, 400-01 (1979), citing Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651 (1974); 
and Ford Motor Co. v. Department of Treasury, 323 U.S. 459 (1945).
        \69\Lincoln County v. Luning, 133 U.S. 529 (1890); Chicot County 
v. Sherwood, 148 U.S. 529 (1893); Workman v. City of New York, 179 U.S. 
552 (1900); Moor v. County of Alameda, 411 U.S. 693 (1973); Mt. Healthy 
City Bd. of Educ. v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274 (1977). Notice that in National 
League of Cities v. Usery, 426 U.S. 833 (1976), the Court extended the 
state immunity from regulation in that case to political subdivisions as 
        \70\Lake County Estates v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 440 
U.S. 391 (1979); Petty v. Tennessee-Missouri Bridge Comm'n, 359 U.S. 275 

        Congressional Withdrawal of Immunity.--The Constitution 
delegates to Congress power to legislate to affect the States in some 
permissible ways. At least in some instances when Congress does so, it 
may subject the States themselves to suit at the initiation of 
individuals to implement the legislation. The clearest example arises 
from the Reconstruction Amendments, which are direct restrictions upon 
state powers and which expressly provide for

[[Page 1534]]
congressional implementing legislation.\71\ Thus, ``the Eleventh 
Amendment and the principle of state sovereignty which it embodies . . . 
are necessarily limited, by the enforcement provisions of Sec. 5 of the 
Fourteenth Amendment.''\72\ Dwelling on the fact that the Fourteenth 
Amendment was ratified after the Eleventh became part of the 
Constitution, the Court implied that earlier grants of legislative power 
to Congress in the body of the Constitution might not contain a similar 
power to authorize suits against the States.\73\ The power to enforce 
the Civil War Amendments is substantive, however, not being limited to 
remedying judicially cognizable violations of the amendments, but 
extending as well to measures that in Congress' judgment will promote 
compliance.\74\ The principal judicial brake on this power to abrogate 
state immunity has been application of a clear statement rule requiring 
that congressional intent to subject States to suit must be clearly 

        \71\Fitzpatrick v. Bitzer, 427 U.S. 445 (1976); Hutto v. Finney, 
437 U.S. 678 (1978); City of Rome v. United States, 446 U.S. 156 (1980). 
More recent cases affirming Congress' Sec. 5 powers include: Pennhurst 
State School & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 99 (1984); Atascadero 
State Hosp. v. Scanlon, 473 U.S. 234, 238 (1985); Dellmuth v. Muth, 491 
U.S. 223, 227 (1989).
        \72\Fitzpatrick v. Bitzer, 427 U.S. 445, 456 (1976).
        \73\Id. at 456 (under Fourteenth Amendment, Congress may 
``provide for private suits against States or state officials which are 
constitutionally impermissible in other contexts.'')
        \74\In Maher v. Gagne, 448 U.S. 122 (1980), the Court found that 
Congress could validly authorize imposition of attorneys' fees on the 
State following settlement of a suit based on both constitutional and 
statutory grounds, even though settlement had prevented determination 
that there had been a constitutional violation. Maine v. Thiboutot, 448 
U.S. 1 (1980), held that Sec. 1983 suits could be premised on federal 
statutory as well as constitutional grounds. Other cases in which 
attorneys' fees were awarded against States are Hutto v. Finney, 437 
U.S. 678 (1978); and New York Gaslight Club v. Carey, 447 U.S. 54 
        \75\Even prior to the recent tightening of the rule to require 
clear expression in the statutory language itself (see n.79 and 
accompanying text, infra), application of the rule curbed congressional 
enforcement. Fitzpatrick v. Bitzer, 427 U.S. 445 451-53 (1976); Hutto v. 
Finney, 437 U.S. 678, 693-98 (1978). Because of its rule of clear 
statement, the Court in Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332 (1979), held that 
in enacting 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, Congress had not intended to include 
States within the term ``person'' for the purpose of subjecting them to 
suit. The question arose after Monell v. New York City Dep't of Social 
Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978), reinterpreted ``person'' to include 
municipal corporations. Cf. Alabama v. Pugh, 438 U.S. 781 (1978). The 
Court has reserved the question whether the Fourteenth Amendment itself, 
without congressional action, modifies the Eleventh Amendment to permit 
suits against States, Milliken v. Bradley, 433 U.S. 267, 290 n.23 
(1977), but the result in Milliken, holding that the Governor could be 
enjoined to pay half the cost of providing compensatory education for 
certain schools, which would come from the state treasury, and in 
Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232 (1974), permitting imposition of damages 
upon the governor, which would come from the state treasury, is 
suggestive. But see Mauclet v. Nyquist, 406 F. Supp. 1233 (W.D.N.Y. 
1976) (refusing money damages under the Fourteenth Amendment), appeal 
dismissed sub nom. Rabinovitch v. Nyquist, 433 U.S. 901 (1977). The 
Court declined in Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123, 150 (1908), to view the 
Eleventh Amendment as modified by the Fourteenth.


[[Page 1535]]

        In the 1989 case of Pennsylvania v. Union Gas Co.,\76\ the 
Court--temporarily at least--ended years of uncertainty by holding 
expressly that Congress acting pursuant to its Article I powers may 
abrogate the Eleventh Amendment immunity of the states, so long as it 
does so with sufficient clarity. Twenty five years earlier the Court had 
stated that same principle,\77\ but only as an alternative holding, and 
a later case had set forth a more restrictive rule.\78\ The premises of 
Union Gas were that by consenting to ratification of the Constitution, 
with its Commerce Clause and other clauses empowering Congress and 
limiting the states, the states had implicitly authorized Congress to 
divest them of immunity, that the Eleventh Amendment was a restraint 
upon the courts and not similarly upon Congress, and that the exercises 
of Congress' powers under the Commerce Clause and other clauses would be 
incomplete without the ability to authorize damage actions against the 
states to enforce congressional enactments. The dissenters denied each 
of these strands of the argument, and, while recogninizing the 
Fourteenth Amendment abrogation power, would have held that none existed 
under Article I. The narrowness of the majority, the conflicted views of 
one of the Justices in the majority, and now changed membership of the 
Court make uncertain the continuing vitality of the decision.

        \76\491 U.S. 1 (1989). The plurality opinion of the Court was by 
Justice Brennan and was joined by the three other Justices who believed 
Hans was incorrectly decided. See id. at 23 (Justice Stevens 
concurring). The fifth vote was provided by Justice White, id. at 45, 
55-56 (Justice White concurring), although he believed Hans was 
correctly decided and ought to be maintained and although he did not 
believe Congress had acted with sufficient clarity in the statutes 
before the Court to abrogate immunity. Justice Scalia thought the 
statutes were express enough but that Congress simply lacked the power. 
Id. at 29. Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices O'Connor and Kennedy 
joined relevant portions of both opinions finding lack of power and lack 
of clarity.
        \77\Parden v. Terminal Railway, 377 U.S. 184, 190-92 (1964). See 
also Employees of the Dep't of Public Health and Welfare v. Department 
of Public Health and Welfare, 411 U.S. 279, 283, 284, 285-86 (1973).
        \78\Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 672 (1974).

        At the same time as these developments, however, a different 
majority secured a victory in circumscribing the manner in which 
Congress could express its decision to abrogate state immunity. 
Henceforth, and even with respect to statutes that were enacted prior to 
promulgation of the judicial rule of construction, ``Congress may 
abrogate the States' constitutionally secured immunity from suit in 
federal court only by making its intention unmistakably clear in the 
language of the statute'' itself.\79\ No legislative history

[[Page 1536]]
will suffice at all.\80\ Indeed, a plurality is of the apparent view 
that only if Congress refers specifically to state sovereign immunity 
and the Eleventh Amendment will its language be unmistakably clear.\81\ 
Thus, general language subjecting to suit in federal court ``any 
recipient of Federal assistance'' under the Rehabilitation Act was 
deemed insufficient to satisfy this test, not because of any question 
about whether States are ``recipients'' within the meaning of the 
provision but because ``given their constitutional role, the States are 
not like any other class of recipients of federal aid.''\82\ The Court 
also construes adversely language Congress chose to reach the issue of 
state immunity while refusing to look at the legislative history which 
elaborates that language.\83\ The result is that Congress has begun to 
utilize the ``magic words'' the Court appears to insist on.\84\

        \79\Atascadero State Hosp. v. Scanlon, 473 U.S. 234, 242 (1985) 
(emphasis supplied).
        \80\See, particularly, Dellmuth v. Muth, 491 U.S. 223, 230 
(1989), and Hoffman v. Connecticut Dep't of Income Maintenance, 492 U.S. 
96, 103-04 (1989).
        \81\Justice Scalia does not hold to this view. Dellmuth v. Muth, 
491 U.S. 223, 233 (1989) (concurring). And see his statutory analysis in 
Pennsylvania v. Union Gas Co., 491 U.S. 1, 29 (1989) (concurring in part 
and dissenting in part). Justice White, for the plurality, denied this 
rigidity, id. at 56 n.7 (concurring); Justice Kennedy for the Court in 
Dellmuth, supra, at 231, expressly noted that the statute before the 
Court did not demonstrate abrogation with unmistakably clarity because, 
inter alia, it ``makes no reference whatsoever to either the Eleventh 
Amendment or the States' sovereign immunity.''
        \82\Atascadero State Hosp. v. Scanlon, 473 U.S. 234, 246 (1985). 
And see Dellmuth v. Muth, 491 U.S. 223 (1989).
        \83\Hoffman v. Connecticut Dep't of Income Maintenance, 492 U.S. 
96, 103-04 (1989).
        \84\Thus, following Atascadero, in 1986 Congress provided that 
States were not to be immune under the Eleventh Amendment from suits 
under several laws barring discrimination by recipients of federal 
financial assistance. Pub. L. No. 99-506, Sec. 1003, 100 Stat. 1845 
(1986), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000d-7. Following Dellmuth, which involved a 
fact situation occurring prior to the 1986 amendments, Congress 
overruled it anyway. Pub. L. No. 101-476, Sec. 103, 104 Stat. 1106 
(1990), 20 U.S.C. Sec. 1403. See also the Copyright Remedy Clarification 
Act, Pub. L. No. 101-553, Sec. 2, 104 Stat. 2749 (1990), 17 U.S.C. 
Sec. 511 (making States and state officials liable in damages for 
copyright violations).

        It should be noted that, even if the Court reverses itself and 
holds that Congress lacks power to abrogate state immunity in federal 
courts under its commerce and other Article I powers, Congress is not 
barred by the Eleventh Amendment, nor apparently by any other 
constitutional provision, from providing authority for suits in state 
courts to implement federal statutory rights, thus doing away for those 
purposes with common law sovereign immunity of the states.\85\

        \85\The point was noted and reserved in Employees of the Dep't 
of Public Health and Welfare v. Department of Public Health and Welfare, 
411 U.S. 279, 287 (1973), while Justice Marshall argued that this was 
plainly the case. Id. at 298 (concurring). Suits under Sec. 1983, for 
example, may be brought in state courts, Maine v. Thiboutot, 448 U.S. 1 
(1980), and state immunities are inapplicable. Id. at 9 n.7; Maher v. 
Gagne, 448 U.S. 122, 130 n.12 (1980). Inasmuch as state courts are 
ordinarily obligated to enforce federal law, cf. Testa v. Katt, 330 U.S. 
386 (1960), state courts are presumably required to hear Sec. 1983 and 
other claims, but the Court has expressly reserved the issue. Martinez 
v. California, 444 U.S. 277, 283 n.7 (1980).


[[Page 1537]]

        Although acknowledging that the Eleventh Amendment was not an 
issue because the Sec. 1983 suit had been pursued in state court, 
nonetheless the Court applied its strict rule of construction, requiring 
``unmistakable clarity'' by Congress in order to subject States to suit, 
in holding that States and state officials sued in their official 
capacity could not be made defendants in Sec. 1983 actions in state 
courts.\86\ While the Court is willing to recognize exceptions to the 
clear statement rule when the issue involves subjection of states to 
suit in state courts, the Court will normally opt for ``symmetry'' that 
treats the states' liability or immunity the same in both state and 
federal courts.\87\

        \86\Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58 (1989).
        \87\Hilton v. South Carolina Pub. Rys. Comm'n, 112 S. Ct. 560, 
564-66 (1991) (interest in ``symmetry'' is outweighed by stare decisis, 
the FELA action being controlled by Parden v. Terminal Ry.
      Suits Against State Officials 

        Mitigation of the wrongs possible when the State is immune from 
suit has been achieved under the doctrine that sovereign immunity, 
either of the States or of the Federal Government, does not ordinarily 
prevent a suit against an official to restrain him from commission of a 
wrong, even though the government is thereby restrained.\88\ The 
doctrine is built upon a double fiction: that for purposes of the 
sovereign's immunity, a suit against the official is not a suit against 
the government, but for the purpose of finding state action to which the 
Constitution applies, the official's conduct is that of the State.\89\ 
The doctrine preceded but is most noteworthily associated with the 
decision in Ex parte Young,\90\ a case truly deserving the overworked 
adjective, seminal.

        \88\See, e.g., Larson v. Domestic and Foreign Corp., 337 U.S. 
682 (1949), where the majority and dissenting opinions utilize both 
federal and Eleventh Amendment cases in a suit against a federal 
official. See also Tindal v. Wesley, 167 U.S. 204, 213 (1897), applying 
to the States the federal rule of United States v. Lee, 106 U.S. 196 
        \89\C. Wright, The Law of Federal Courts Sec. 48 (4th ed. 1983).
        \90\209 U.S. 123 (1908).

        Young arose when a state legislature passed a law reducing 
railroad rates and providing severe penalties for any railroad that 
failed to comply with the law. Plaintiff railroad stockholders brought 
an action to enjoin Young, the state attorney general, from enforcing 
the law, alleging that it was unconstitutional and that they would 
suffer irreparable harm if he were not prevented from acting. An 
injunction was granted forbidding Young from acting on the law, an 
injunction he violated by bringing an action in state

[[Page 1538]]
court against noncomplying railroads; for this action he was adjudged in 
contempt. If the Supreme Court had held that the injunction was not 
impermissible, because the suit was one against the State, there would 
have been no practicable way for the railroads to attack the statute 
without placing themselves in great danger. They could have disobeyed it 
and alleged its unconstitutionality in the enforcement proceedings, but 
if they were wrong about the statute's validity the penalties would have 
been devastating.\91\ In the modern context, the effectuation of federal 
constitutional rights against state action often depends upon the 
imposition of affirmative obligations through injunctions, and this 
relief would be impossible if such an injunction were in effect a suit 
against a State.

        \91\In fact, the statute was eventually held to be 
constitutional. Minnesota Rate Cases (Simpson v. Shepard), 230 U.S. 352 

        In deciding Young, the Court was confronted with inconsistent 
lines of cases, including numerous precedents for permitting suits 
against state officers. Chief Justice Marshall had begun the process in 
Osborn by holding that suit was barred only when the State was formally 
named a party,\92\ although he was presently required to modify that 
decision and preclude suit when an official, the governor of a State, 
was sued in his official capacity.\93\ Relying on Osborn and reading 
Madrazo narrowly, the Court, seeming to treat the barrier to suit as 
common-law sovereign immunity, held in a series of cases that an 
official of a State could be sued to prevent him from executing a state 
law in conflict with the Constitution or a law of the United States, and 
the fact that the officer may be acting on behalf of the State or in 
response to a statutory obligation of the State does not make the suit 
one against the State.\94\ Soon, however, the Court began developing a 
more expansive concept of the Eleventh Amendment and sovereign immunity, 
beginning with the first case in which the sovereign immunity of the 
United States was claimed and rejected\95\ and the Hans v. Louisiana 
decision reading broadly the effect of the adoption of the Eleventh 

        \92\Osborn v. Bank of the United States, 22 U.S. (9 Wheat.) 738 
        \93\Governor of Georgia v. Madrazo, 26 U.S. (1 Pet.) 110 (1828).
        \94\Davis v. Gray, 83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 203 (1872); Board of 
Liquidation v. McComb, 92 U.S. 531 (1875); Allen v. Baltimore & Ohio 
R.R., 114 U.S. 311 (1885); Rolston v. Missouri Fund Comm'rs, 120 U.S. 
390 (1887); Pennoyer v. McConnaughy, 140 U.S. 1 (1891); Reagan v. 
Farmers' Loan & Trust Co., 154 U.S. 362 (1894); Smyth v. Ames, 169 U.S. 
466 (1898); Scranton v. Wheeler, 179 U.S. 141 (1900).
        \95\United States v. Lee, 106 U.S. 196 (1882). See supra, 
pp.748-51. The Court sustained the suit against the federal officers by 
only a 5-to-4 vote, the dissent presenting the arguments that were soon 
to inform Eleventh Amendment cases.
        \96\134 U.S. 1 (1890).

[[Page 1539]]

        The two leading cases, as were many cases of this period, were 
suits attempting to prevent Southern States from defaulting on 
bonds.\97\ In Louisiana v. Jumel,\98\ a Louisiana citizen sought to 
compel the state treasurer to apply a sinking fund that had been created 
under the earlier constitution for the payment of the bonds after a 
subsequent constitution had abolished this provision for retiring the 
bonds. The proceeding was held to be a suit against the State.\99\ Then, 
In re Ayers\100\ purported to supply a rationale for the cases 
permitting the issuance of mandamus or injuctive relief against state 
officers in a way that would have severely curtailed federal judicial 
power. Suit against a state officer was not barred when his action, 
aside from any official authority claimed as its justification, was a 
wrong simply as an individual act, such as a trespass, but if the act of 
the officer did not constitute an individual wrong and was something 
that only a State, through its officers, could do, the suit was in 
actuality a suit against the State and was barred.\101\ That is, the 
unconstitutional nature of the state statute under which the officer 
acted stripped him of the State's shield against suit, but it did not 
itself constitute a private cause of action. For that, one must be able 
to point to an independent violation of a common law right.\102\

        \97\See Gibbons, The Eleventh Amendment and State Sovereign 
Immunity: A Reinterpretation, 83 Colum. L. Rev. 1889, 1968-2003 (1983); 
Orth, The Interpretation of the Eleventh Amendment, 1798-1908: A Case 
Study of Judicial Power, 1983 U. Ill. L. Rev. 423.
        \98\107 U.S. 711 (1882).
        \99\``The relief asked will require the officers against whom 
the process is issued to act contrary to the positive orders of the 
supreme political power of the State, whose creatures they are, and to 
which they are ultimately responsible in law for what they do. They must 
use the public money in the treasury and under their official control in 
one way, when the supreme power has directed them to use it in another, 
and they must raise more money by taxation when the same power has 
declared that it shall not be done.'' Id. at 721. See also Christian v. 
Atlantic & N.C. R.R., 133 U.S. 233 (1890).
        \100\123 U.S. 443 (1887).
        \101\Id. at 500-01, 502.
        \102\Ayers was a suit by plaintiffs seeking to enjoin state 
officials from bringing suit under an allegedly unconstitutional statute 
purporting to overturn a contract between the State and the bondholders 
to receive the bond coupons for tax payments. The Court asserted that 
the State's contracts impliedly contained the State's immunity from 
suit, so that express withdrawal of a supposed consent to be sued was 
not a violation of the contract; but, in any event, inasmuch as any 
violation of the assumed contract was an act of the State, to which the 
officials were not parties, their actions as individuals in bringing 
suit did not breach the contract. Id. at 503, 505-06. The rationale had 
been asserted by a four-Justice concurrence in Antoni v. Greenhow, 107 
U.S. 769, 783 (1882). See also Cunningham v. Macon & Brunswick R.R., 109 
U.S. 446 (1883); Hagood v. Southern, 117 U.S. 52 (1886); North Carolina 
v. Temple, 134 U.S. 22 (1890); In re Tyler, 149 U.S. 164 (1893); Baltzer 
v. North Carolina, 161 U.S. 240 (1896); Fitts v. McGhee, 172 U.S. 516 
(1899); Smith v. Reeves, 178 U.S. 436 (1900).


[[Page 1540]]

        Although Ayers was in all relevant points on all fours with 
Young,\103\ the Court held that the injunction had properly issued 
against the state attorney general, even though the State was in effect 
restrained as well. ``The act to be enforced is alleged to be 
unconstitutional, and, if it be so, the use of the name of the state to 
enforce an unconstitutional act to the injury of the complainants is a 
proceeding without the authority of, and one which does not affect, the 
state in its sovereign or governmental capacity. It is simply an illegal 
act upon the part of a state official, in attempting by the use of the 
name of the state to enforce a legislative enactment which is void, 
because unconstitutional. If the act which the state Attorney General 
seeks to enforce be a violation of the federal Constitution, the officer 
in proceeding under such enactment comes into conflict with the superior 
authority of that Constitution, and he is in that case stripped of his 
official or representative character and is subject in his person to the 
consequences of his individual conduct.''\104\ Justice Harlan was the 
only dissenter, arguing that in law and fact the suit was one only 
against the State and that the suit against the individual was a mere 

        \103\Ayers ``would seem to be decisive of the Young 
litigation.'' C. Wright, The Law of Federal Courts Sec. 48 at 288 (4th 
ed. 1983). The Young Court purported to distinguish and to preserve 
Ayers but on grounds that either were irrelevant to Ayers or that had 
been rejected in the earlier case. Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123, 151, 
167 (1908). Similarly, in a later case, the Court continued to 
distinguish Ayers but on grounds that did not in fact distinguish it 
from the case before the Court, in which it permitted a suit against a 
state revenue commissioner to enjoin him from collecting allegedly 
unconstitutional taxes. Georgia R.R. & Banking Co. v. Redwine, 342 U.S. 
299 (1952).
        \104\Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123, 159-60 (1908). The opinion 
did not address the issue of how an officer ``stripped of his official 
. . . character'' could violate the Constitution, inasmuch as the 
Constitution restricts only ``state action,'' but the double fiction has 
been expounded numerous times since. Thus, for example, it is well 
settled that an action unauthorized by state law is state action for 
purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment. Home Tel. & Tel. Co. v. City of 
Los Angeles, 227 U.S. 278 (1913). The contrary premise of Barney v. City 
of New York, 193 U.S. 430 (1904), though eviserated by Home Tel. & Tel. 
was not expressly disavowed until United States v. Raines, 362 U.S. 17, 
25-26 (1960).
        \105\Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123, 173-74 (1908).

        The ``fiction'' remains a mainstay of our jurisprudence.\106\ It 
accounts for a great deal of the litigation brought by individuals to 
challenge the carrying out of state policies by officers. Thus, suits 
against state officers alleging that they are acting pursuant to an 
unconstitutional statute are the standard device by which to test the 
validity of state legislation in federal courts prior to enforce

[[Page 1541]]
ment and thus interpretation in the state courts.\107\ Similarly, suits 
to restrain state officials from taking certain actions in contravention 
of federal statutes\108\ or to compel the undertaking of affirmative 
obligations imposed by the Constitution or federal laws\109\ are common. 
For years, moreover, the accepted rule was that suits prosecuted against 
state officers in federal courts upon grounds that they are acting in 
excess of state statutory authority\110\ or that they are not doing 
something required by state law\111\ are not precluded by the Eleventh 
Amendment or its emanations of sovereign immunity, provided only that 
there are grounds to obtain federal jurisdiction.\112\ However, in 
Pennhurst State School & Hosp. v. Halderman,\113\ the Court, five-to-
four, held

[[Page 1542]]
that Young did not permit suits in federal courts against state officers 
alleging violations of state law. In the Court's view, Young's rationale 
was the necessity to promote the supremacy of federal law, a basis that 
disappears if the violation alleged is of state law.

        \106\E.g., Ray v. Atlantic Richfield Co., 435 U.S. 151, 156 n.6 
(1978) (rejecting request of state officials being sued to restrain 
enforcement of state statute as preempted by federal law that Young be 
overruled); Florida Dep't of State v. Treasure Salvors, 458 U.S. 670, 
685 (1982).
        \107\See, e.g., Home Tel.&Tel. Co. v. City of Los Angeles, 227 
U.S. 278 (1913); Truax v. Raich, 239 U.S. 33 (1915); Cavanaugh v. 
Looney, 248 U.S. 453 (1919); Terrace v. Thompson, 263 U.S. 197 (1923); 
Hygrade Provision Co. v. Sherman, 266 U.S. 497 (1925); Massachusetts 
State Grange v. Benton, 272 U.S. 525 (1926); Hawks v. Hamill, 288 U.S. 
52 (1933). See also Graham v. Richardson, 403 U.S. 365 (1971) (enjoining 
state welfare officials from denying welfare benefits to otherwise 
qualified recipients because they were aliens); Goldberg v. Kelly, 397 
U.S. 254 (1970) (enjoining city welfare officials from following state 
procedures for termination of benefits); Milliken v. Bradley, 433 U.S. 
267 (1977) (imposing half the costs of mandated compensatory education 
programs upon State through order directed to governor and other 
officials). On injunctions against governors, see Continental Baking Co. 
v. Woodring, 286 U.S. 352 (1932); Sterling v. Constantin, 287 U.S. 378 
(1932). Applicable to suits under this doctrine are principles of 
judicial restraint, constitutional, statutory, and prudential, discussed 
under Article III.
        \108\E.g., Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 664-68 (1974); Ray 
v. Atlantic Richfield Co., 435 U.S. 151 (1978).
        \109\E.g., Milliken v. Bradley, 433 U.S. 267 (1977); Edelman v. 
Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 664-68 (1974); Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 346-
49 (1979).
        \110\E.g., Pennoyer v. McConnaughy, 140 U.S. 1 (1891); Scully v. 
Bird, 209 U.S. 481 (1908); Atchison, T. & S. F. Ry. v. O'Connor, 223 
U.S. 280 (1912); Greene v. Louisville & Interurban R.R. Co., 244 U.S. 
499 (1977); Louisville & Nashville R.R. Co. v. Greene, 244 U.S. 522 
(1917). Property held by state officials on behalf of the State under 
claimed state authority may be recovered in suits against the officials, 
although the court may not conclusively resolve the State's claims 
against it in such a suit. South Carolina v. Wesley, 155 U.S. 542 
(1895); Tindal v. Wesley, 167 U.S. 204 (1897); Hopkins v. Clemson 
College, 221 U.S. 636 (1911). See also Florida Dep't of State v. 
Treasure Salvors, 458 U.S. 670 (1982), in which the eight Justices 
agreeing the Eleventh Amendment applied divided 4-to-4 over the proper 
        \111\E.g., Rolston v. Missouri Fund Comm'rs, 120 U.S. 390 
(1887); Atchison, T. & S. F. Ry. v. O'Connor, 223 U.S. 280 (1912); 
Johnson v. Lankford, 245 U.S. 541, 545 (1918); Lankford v. Platte Iron 
Works Co., 235 U.S. 461, 471 (1915); Davis v. Wallace, 257 U.S. 478, 
482-85 (1922); Glenn v. Field Packing Co., 290 U.S. 177, 178 (1933); Lee 
v. Bickell, 292 U.S. 415, 425 (1934).
        \112\Typically, the plaintiff would be in federal court under 
diversity jurisdiction, cf. Martin v. Lankford, 245 U.S. 547, 551 
(1918), perhaps under admiralty jurisdiction, Florida Dep't of State v. 
Treasure Salvors, 458 U.S. 670 (1982), or under federal question 
jurisdiction. In the last instance, federal courts are obligated first 
to consider whether the issues presented may be decided on state law 
grounds before reaching federal constitutional grounds, and thus relief 
may be afforded on state law grounds solely. Cf. Siler v. Louisville & 
Nashville R.R., 213 U.S. 175, 193 (1909); Hagans v. Lavine, 415 U.S. 
528, 546-47 & n.12 (1974).
        \113\465 U.S. 89 (1984).

        The Court still adheres to the doctrine, first pronounced in 
Madrazo,\114\ that some suits against officers are ``really'' against 
the State\115\ and are barred by the State's immunity, such as when the 
suit involves state property or asks for relief which clearly calls for 
the exercise of official authority, such as paying money out of the 
treasury to remedy past harms. For example, a suit to prevent tax 
officials from collecting death taxes arising from the competing claims 
of two States as being the last domicile of the decedent floundered upon 
the conclusion that there could be no credible claim of violation of the 
Constitution or federal law; state law imposed the obligation upon the 
officials and ``in reality'' the action was against the State.\116\ 
Suits against state officials to recover taxes have been made 
increasingly difficult to maintain. Although the Court long ago held 
that the sovereign immunity of the State prevented a suit to recover 
money in the state treasury,\117\ it also held that a suit would lie 
against a revenue officer to recover tax moneys illegally collected and 
still in his possession.\118\ Beginning, however, with Great Northern 
Life Ins. Co. v. Read,\119\ the Court has held that this kind of suit 
cannot be maintained unless the State expressly consents to suits in the 
federal courts. In this case, the state statute provided for the payment 
of taxes under protest and for suits afterward against state tax 
collection officials for the recovery of taxes illegally collected, 
which revenues were required to be kept segregated.\120\

        \114\Governor of Georgia v. Madrazo, 26 U.S. (1 Pet.) 110 
        \115\E.g., Ford Motor Co. v. Department of the Treasury, 323 
U.S. 459, 464 (1945).
        \116\Worcester County Co. v. Riley, 302 U.S. 292 (1937). See 
also Old Colony Trust Co. v. Seattle, 271 U.S. 426 (1926). Worcester 
County  remains viable. Cory v. White, 457 U.S. 85 (1982). The actions 
were under the Federal Interpleader Act, 49 Stat. 1096 (1936), 28 U.S.C. 
Sec. 1335, under which other actions against officials have been 
allowed. E.g., Treines v. Sunshine Mining Co., 308 U.S. 66 (1939) 
(joinder of state court judge and receiver in interpleader proceeding in 
which State had no interest and neither judge nor receiver was enjoined 
by final decree). See also Missouri v. Fiske, 290 U.S. 18 (1933).
        \117\Smith v. Reeves, 178 U.S. 436 (1900).
        \118\Atchison, T. & S. F. Ry. v. O'Connor, 223 U.S. 280 (1912).
        \119\322 U.S. 47 (1944).
        \120\See also Ford Motor Co. v. Department of Treasury, 323 U.S. 
459 (1945); Kennecott Copper Corp. v. Tax Comm'n, 327 U.S. 573 (1946). 
States may confine to their own courts suits to recover taxes. Smith v. 
Reeves, 178 U.S. 436 (1900); Murray v. Wilson Distilling Co., 213 U.S. 
151 (1909); Chandler v. Dix, 194 U.S. 590 (1904).


[[Page 1543]]

        In Edelman v. Jordan,\121\ the Court appeared to begin to lay 
down new restrictive interpretations of what the Eleventh Amendment 
proscribed. The Court announced that a suit ``seeking to impose a 
liability which must be paid from public funds in the state treasury is 
barred by the Eleventh Amendment.''\122\ What the Court actually held, 
however, was that it was permissible for federal courts to require state 
officials to comply in the future with claims payment provisions of the 
welfare assistance sections of the Social Security Act, but that they 
were not permitted to hear claims seeking, or issue orders directing, 
payment of funds found to be wrongfully withheld.\123\ Conceding that 
some of the characteristics of prospective and retroactive relief would 
be the same in their effects upon the state treasury, the Court 
nonetheless believed that retroactive payments were equivalent to the 
imposition of liabilities which must be paid from public funds in the 
treasury, and that this was barred by the Eleventh Amendment. The 
spending of money from the state treasury by state officials shaping 
their conduct in accordance with a prospective-only injunction is ``an 
ancillary effect'' which ``is a permissible and often an inevitable 
consequence'' of Ex parte Young, whereas ``payment of state funds . . . 
as a form of compensation'' to those wrongfully denied the funds in the 
past ``is in practical effect indistinguishable in many aspects from an 
award of damages against the State.''\124\

        \121\415 U.S. 651 (1974).
        \122\Id. at 663.
        \123\Id. at 667-68.
        \124\Id. at 668. See also Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332 (1979) 
(reaffirming Edelman, but holding that state officials could be ordered 
to notify members of the class that had been denied retroactive relief 
in that case that they might seek back benefits by invoking state 
administrative procedures; the order did not direct the payment but left 
it to state discretion to award retroactive relief). But cf. Green v. 
Mansour, 474 U.S. 64 (1985). ``Notice relief'' permitted under Quern v. 
Jordan is consistent with the Eleventh Amendment only insofar as it is 
ancillary to valid prospective relief designed to prevent ongoing 
violations of federal law. Thus, where Congress has changed the AFDC law 
and the State is complying with the new law, an order to state officials 
to notify claimants that past payments may have been inadequate 
conflicts with the Eleventh Amendment.

        That Edelman in many instances will be a formal restriction 
rather than an actual one is illustrated by Milliken v. Bradley,\125\ in 
which state officers were ordered to spend money from the state treasury 
in order to finance remedial educational programs to counteract the 
effects of past school segregation; the decree, the Court said, ``fits 
squarely within the prospective-compliance exception reaffirmed by 
Edelman.''\126\ Although the payments were a result of past wrongs, of 
past constitutional violations, the Court did

[[Page 1544]]
not view them as ``compensation,'' inasmuch as they were not to be paid 
to victims of past discrimination but rather used to better conditions 
either for them or their successors.\127\ The Court also applied Edelman 
in Papasan v. Allain,\128\ holding that a claim against a state for 
payments representing a continuing obligation to meet trust 
responsibilities stemming from a 19th century grant of public lands for 
benefit of education of the Chickasaw Indian Nation is barred by the 
Eleventh Amendment as indistinguishable from an action for past loss of 
trust corpus, but that an Equal Protection claim for present unequal 
distribution of school land funds is the type of ongoing violation for 
which the Eleventh Amendment does not bar redress.

        \125\433 U.S. 267 (1977).
        \126\Id. at 289.
        \127\Id. at 290 n.22. See also Hutto v. Finney, 437 U.S. 678, 
690-91 (1978) (affirming order to pay attorney's fees out of state 
treasury as an ``ancillary'' order because of bad faith of State).
        \128\478 U.S. 265 (1986).

        Thus, as with the cases dealing with suits facially against the 
States themselves, the Court's recent greater attention to state 
immunity in the context of suits against state officials has resulted in 
a mixed picture, of some new restrictions, of the lessening of others. 
But a number of Justices has resorted to the Eleventh Amendment 
increasingly, as one means of reducing federal-state judicial 
conflict.\129\ One may, therefore, expect this to be a continuingly 
contentious area.

        \129\See, e.g., Florida Dep't of State v. Treasure Salvors, 458 
U.S. 670, 702 (1982) (dissenting opinion); Patsy v. Florida Board of 
Regents, 457 U.S. 496, 520 (1982) (dissenting opinion). And see 
Employees of the Dep't of Public Health and Welfare v. Department of 
Public Health and Welfare, 411 U.S. 279 (1973).

        Tort Actions Against State Officials.--In Tindal v. Wesley,\130\ 
the Court adopted the rule of United States v. Lee,\131\ a tort suit 
against federal officials, to permit a tort action against state 
officials to recover real property held by them and claimed by the State 
and to obtain damages for the period of withholding. The immunity of a 
State from suit has long been held not to extend to actions against 
state officials for damages arising out of willful and negligent 
disregard of state laws.\132\ The reach of the rule is evident in 
Scheuer v. Rhodes,\133\ in which the Court held that plaintiffs were not 
barred by the Eleventh Amendment or other immunity doctrines from suing 
the governor and other officials of a State alleging that they deprived 
plaintiffs of federal rights under color of state law and seeking 
damages, when it was clear that plaintiffs were seeking to impose 
individual and personal liability on the offi

[[Page 1545]]
cials. There was no ``executive immunity'' from suit, the Court held; 
rather, the immunity of state officials is qualified and varies 
according to the scope of discretion and responsibilities of the 
particular office and the circumstances existing at the time the 
challenged action was taken.\134\

        \130\167 U.S. 204 (1897).
        \131\106 U.S. 196 (1883).
        \132\Johnson v. Lankford, 245 U.S. 541 (1918); Martin v. 
Lankford, 245 U.S. 547 (1918).
        \133\416 U.S. 233 (1974).
        \134\These suits, like suits against local officials and 
municipal corporations, are typically brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 
Sec. 1983 and typically involve all the decisions respecting liability 
and immunities thereunder. On the scope of immunity of federal 
officials, see supra, pp.748-51.