5 Court Cases Essay

This essay has a total of 1809 words and 11 pages.

5 Court Cases

I. Name and Citation
STATE OF FLORIDA, versus SEMINOLE TRIBE OF FLORIDA

II. Key Facts
In this complaint, the the Tribe was operating "electronic or electromechanical facsimiles
of games of chance" and that such operations constituted class III gaming as defined by
IGRA. These games were operated despite the absence of a compact between the Tribe and the
State regarding the regulation of class III gaming. The State also alleged that the Tribe
planned to construct a new facility on its lands in order to conduct additional class III
gaming.


III. The Issue
Does the operation of such games without a Tribal-State compact violate both federal and state law?

IV. Holding and Vote
No (Opinion by Justice Stevens)

V. Reasoning
Congress abrogated tribal immunity from state suits that seek declaratory or injunctive
relief for alleged tribal violations of IGRA; (2) the Tribe, by electing to engage in
gaming under IGRA, waived its immunity from a suit to require compliance with the
statutory conditions precedent to class III gaming; and (3) tribal immunity does not
necessarily extend to actions seeking prospective equitable relief. Congress may abrogate
a sovereign's immunity only by using statutory language that makes its intention
unmistakably clear, and that ambiguities in federal laws implicating Indian rights must be
resolved in the Indians' favor. The Supreme Court has made it plain that waivers of tribal
sovereign immunity cannot be implied on the basis of a tribe's actions, but must be
unequivocally expressed. Accordingly, we reject the State's argument that the Tribe's
immunity does not necessarily extend to this action for prospective equitable relief. The
district court's holding that sovereign immunity bars the State's suit against the Tribe
is affirmed.


I. Name and Citation
ALDEN et al. v. MAINE

II. Key Facts
Congress lacks power under Article I to abrogate the States' sovereign immunity in federal
court, the Federal District Court dismissed a Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 suit filed
by petitioners against their employer, respondent Maine. Subsequently, petitioners filed
the same action in state court. Although the FLSA purports to authorize private actions
against States in their own courts, the trial court dismissed the suit on the ground of
sovereign immunity.



III. The Issue
Does the federal government have authority under Article I to abrogate a State's immunity in it's own court?

IV. Holding and Vote
Yes. (vote 5-4) (Opinion by Justice Kennedy)

V. Reasoning
The Constitution's structure and history and this Court's authoritative interpretations
make clear that the States' immunity from suit is a fundamental aspect of the sovereignty
they enjoyed before the Constitution's ratification and retain today except as altered by
the plan of the Convention or certain constitutional Amendments. The States' immunity from
private suit in their own courts is beyond congressional power to abrogate by Article I
legislation. Congress may exercise its Article I powers to subject States to private suits
in their own courts only if there is compelling evidence that States were required to
surrender this power to Congress pursuant to the constitutional design. A question of
first impression. History, practice, precedent, and the Constitution's structure show no
compelling evidence that this derogation of the States' sovereignty is inherent in the
constitutional compact.


VI. Separate Opinions
Kennedy, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and O'Connor,
Scalia, and Thomas, JJ., joined. Souter, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Stevens,
Ginsburg, and Breyer, JJ., joined.


-





I. Name and Citation
BUCKLEY v. FITZSIMMONS ET AL.

II. Key Facts
Petitioner Buckley sought damages from respondent prosecutors for fabricating evidence
during the preliminary investigation of a highly publicized rape and murder in Illinois
and making false statements at a press conference announcing the return of an indictment
against him. He claimed that when three separate lab studies failed to make a reliable
connection between a bootprint at the murder site and his boots, respondents obtained a
positive identification from one Robbins, who allegedly was known for her willingness to
fabricate unreliable expert testimony. Thereafter, they convened a grand jury for the sole
purpose of investigating the murder, and 10 months later, respondent Fitzsimmons, the
State's Attorney, announced the indictment at the news conference. Buckley was arrested
and, unable to meet the bond, held in jail. Robbins provided the principal evidence
against him at trial, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict. When Robbins died before
Buckley's retrial, all charges were dropped and he was released after three years of
incarceration. In the 1983 action, the District Court held that respondents were entitled
to absolute immunity for the fabricated evidence claim but not for the press conference
claim.


III. Issue
Do respondent prosecutors have absolute immunity?

IV. Holding and Vote
No (Opinion by Justice Stevens)

V. Reasoning
Respondents are not entitled to absolute immunity. Certain immunities were so well
established when 1983 was enacted that this Court presumes that Congress would have
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