OCTOBER TERM, 1998
on application for temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction and on motion for leave to file a bill of complaint
No. 127, Orig. (A-736). Decided March 3, 1999
Plaintiffs moved for leave to file a bill of complaint and for a preliminary injunction against the United States and the Governor of Arizona, both raised under this Court's original jurisdiction, seeking, inter alia, enforcement of an ex parte order by the International Court of Justice, which directed the United States to prevent Arizona's execution of a German citizen. The action was filed within two hours of an execution ordered in January, based upon a sentence imposed in 1984, about which Germany learned in 1992.
Held: Given the tardiness of the pleas and the threshold barriers they implicate, this Court declines to exercise its original jurisdiction. It appears that the United States has not waived its sovereign immunity, and it is doubtful that Art. III, § 2, cl. 2, provides an anchor for an action to prevent execution of a German citizen who is not an ambassador or consul. Also, a foreign government's ability here to assert a claim against a State is without evident support in the Vienna Convention and in probable contravention of Eleventh Amendment principles. See Breard v. Greene, 523 U. S. 371, 377.
The motion of the Federal Republic of Germany et al. (plaintiffs) for leave to file a bill of complaint and the motion for preliminary injunction against the United States of America and Jane Dee Hull, Governor of the State of Arizona, both raised under this Court's original jurisdiction, are denied. Plaintiffs' motion to dispense with printing requirements is granted. Plaintiffs seek, among other relief, enforcement of an order issued this afternoon by the International Court of Justice, on its own motion and with no opportunity for the United States to respond, directing the
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