An Interesting Lawsuit | New NY 23rd

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.— Eleventh Amendment


The case concerns Le Roy Torres, who served in the Army Reserve for almost two decades. When he returned to Texas, his medical condition did not allow him to resume his duties as a state trooper, and he asked the state for a different job. Texas refused, and Mr. Torres sued under a federal law, the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act of 1994, which protects veterans from job discrimination and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for their disabilities. The question for the justices was whether Congress was entitled to override states’ sovereign immunity, which generally protects them from lawsuits seeking money.

The Eleventh Amendment doesn’t explicitly protect states from lawsuits seeking money:

Although the text of the Amendment would appear to restrict only the Article III diversity jurisdiction of the federal courts, “We have understood the Eleventh Amendment to stand not so much for what it says, but for the presupposition . . . which it confirms.” Blatchford v. Native Village of Noatak.

Thus it’s not the text of the Eleventh Amendment that matters, but a presupposition! That should give the nine Justices something to consider.

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