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Constitutional Law Keyed to Cohen
Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida
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*Case Brief Anatomy includes: Brief Prologue, Complete Case Brief, Brief Epilogue
- The Brief Prologue provides necessary case brief introductory information and includes:
- Topic: Identifies the topic of law and where this case fits within your course outline.
- Parties: Identifies the cast of characters involved in the case.
- Procedural Posture & History: Shares the case history with how lower courts have ruled on the matter.
- Case Key Terms, Acts, Doctrines, etc.: A case specific Legal Term Dictionary.
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- The Case Brief is the complete case summarized and authored in the traditional Law School I.R.A.C. format. The Pro case brief includes:
- Brief Facts: A Synopsis of the Facts of the case.
- Rule of Law: Identifies the Legal Principle the Court used in deciding the case.
- Facts: What are the factual circumstances that gave rise to the civil or criminal case? What is the relationship of the Parties that are involved in the case. Review the Facts of this case here:
The Petitioner sued the Respondents alleging that Respondents had refused to enter into any negotiation for inclusion of gaming activities in a tribal state compact, thereby violating the requirement of good faith negotiation contained in the Act. Respondents moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the suit violated the State’s sovereign immunity from suit in a federal court. The District Court denied Respondents motion. The Court of Appeals reversed the District Courts decision, holding that the Eleventh Amendment of the Constitution barred the Petitioner’s suit against the Respondents. The Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) granted certiorari. In deciding the case the Supreme Court asked whether (1) Congress had unequivocally expressed its intent to abrogate the immunity and (2) whether Congress had acted pursuant to a valid exercise of power. The Supreme Court determined that Congress did unequivocally intend to abrogate the State’s sovereign immunity f rom a clear legislative statement. In the next step of its analysis, the Supreme Court inquired whether the Act in question was passed pursuant to a constitutionals provision granting Congress the power to abrogate. The Supreme Court acknowledged that they had only found authority to abrogate under very few provisions of the Constitution. One of which being the Enforcement Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. The Supreme Court found in Fitzpatrick v. Bitzer, that Congress can abrogate State’s sovereign immunity pursuant to the Enforcement Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. The Supreme Court, in the instant case, then overruled one of its previous rulings in Pennsylvania v. Union Gas Co., recognizing it had reached that decision without an express rationale for allowing Congress to abrogate a State’s sovereign immunity. In overruling Union Gas, the Supreme Court reached one of its holdings that the Eleventh Amendment of the Constitution prevents congressional authorization of suits by private parties against unconsenting States. In deciding the second issue, the Supreme Court determined that a suit could not be brought against the State Governor based on Ex Parte Young as the statute provided remedial measures to enforce the statute. Thus, the case was not appropriate for a judicial ruling.
- Issue(s): Lists the Questions of Law that are raised by the Facts of the case.
- Holding: Shares the Court's answer to the legal questions raised in the issue.
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- The Brief Prologue closes the case brief with important forward-looking discussion and includes:
- Policy: Identifies the Policy if any that has been established by the case.
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