The following video refers to the court case of Pennhurst State School V. Halderman (1984). The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the MH/MR Act required the State to adopt the "least restrictive environment" approach for the care of the mentally retarded, and rejecting petitioners' argument that the eleventh amendment barred a federal court from considering this pendent state law claim.
"The court reasoned that, since that Amendment did not bar a federal court from granting prospective injunctive relief against state officials on the basis of federal claims, the same result obtained with respect to a pendent state law claim."
- EX PARTE YOUNG, 209 U.S. 123 (1908)
The Eleventh Amendment prohibited the District Court from ordering state officials to conform their conduct to state law. The principle of sovereign immunity is a constitutional limitation on the federal judicial power established in Article III of the Constitution. The Eleventh Amendment bars a suit against state officials when the State is the real, substantial party in interest, regardless of whether the suit seeks damages or injunctive relief. The Court in Ex parte Young, supra, recognized an important exception to this general rule: a suit challenging the federal constitutionality of a state official's action is not one against the State. This is where I found an obvious problem with the eleventh amendment as I spoke of in my earlier post. Sometimes there is a need to sue outside states even if you are not a citizen of one.