Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2013

Keywords

Eleventh Amendment, diversity explanation, diversity jurisdiction, federal courts, federal law, state sovereign immunity

Abstract

This essay, in a symposium honoring the scholarship of Ninth Circuit Judge William A. Fletcher, explores the “diversity explanation” of the Eleventh Amendment that he had advanced in articles while he was a UC-Berkeley law professor. That explanation, contrary to existing Supreme Court doctrine that heavily constitutionalizes state sovereign immunity from suits by private parties and foreign countries, would view the Eleventh Amendment as having solely to do with federal courts’ constitutional jurisdiction and nothing to do with states’ sovereign immunity. The essay notes the cleanness of interpretation provided by the diversity explanation, in contrast with the convoluted nature of current doctrine, and concludes that overruling of that doctrine would be warranted.