OCTOBER TERM, 1998
certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the third circuit
No. 98-149. Argued April 20, 1999—Decided June 23, 1999
An individual may sue a State where Congress has authorized such a suit in the exercise of its power to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment, Fitzpatrick v. Bitzer, 427 U. S. 445, or where a State has waived its sovereign immunity by consenting to suit, Clark v. Barnard, 108 U. S. 436, 447-448. The Trademark Remedy Clarification Act (TRCA) subjects States to suits brought under § 43(a) of the Trademark Act of 1946 (Lanham Act) for false and misleading advertising. Petitioner markets and sells certificates of deposit designed to finance college costs. When respondent Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Education Expense Board (Florida Prepaid), a Florida state entity, began its own tuition prepayment program, petitioner filed suit, alleging that Florida Prepaid violated § 43 by misrepresenting its own program. In granting Florida Prepaid's motion to dismiss on sovereign immunity grounds, the District Court rejected arguments made by petitioner and by the United States, which had intervened, that, under the constructive waiver doctrine of Parden v. Terminal R. Co. of Ala. Docks Dept., 377 U. S. 184, Florida Prepaid waived its immunity by engaging in interstate marketing and administration of its program after the TRCA made clear that such activity would subject it to suit; and that Congress's abrogation of sovereign immunity in the TRCA was effective, since it was enacted to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause. The Third Circuit affirmed.
Held: The federal courts have no jurisdiction to entertain this suit because Florida's sovereign immunity was neither validly abrogated by the TRCA nor voluntarily waived. Pp. 672-691.
(a) The TRCA did not abrogate Florida's sovereign immunity. Congress may legislate under § 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to enforce the Amendment's other provisions, but the object of such legislation must be the remediation or prevention of constitutional violations. Petitioner's argument that Congress enacted the TRCA to remedy and prevent state deprivations of two property interests without due process is rejected, for neither a right to be free from a business competitor's false advertising about its own product nor a right to be secure in one'sPage: Index 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Next
Last modified: October 4, 2007