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Book: The U.S. Constitution in Five Minutes

Chapter: 12. Why Is It Hard to Sue a State?

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.43572


Why is it difficult to sue a state? States may be immune from lawsuits by citizens even when the state’s actions allegedly violate federal law. This chapter describes the origins and competing interpretations of state sovereign immunity as applied through the Tenth and Eleventh Amendments.

Chapter Contributors

  • Susan W. Johnson ( - swjohnson) 'University of North Carolina at Greensboro'