Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Education Expense Board v. College Savings Bank

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Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Education Expense Board v. College Savings Bank
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued April 20, 1999
Decided June 23, 1999
Full case name Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Education Expense Board v. College Savings Bank and United States
Citations 527 U.S. 627 (more)
119 S.Ct. 2199; 144 L.Ed.2d 575; 67 USLW 3683; 67 USLW 4580; 135 Ed. Law Rep. 342; 51 U.S.P.Q.2d 1081; 99 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 4945; 1999 Daily Journal D.A.R. 6371; 1999 CJ C.A.R. 3688; 12 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 458
Prior history 148 F.3d 1343 (Fed. Cir. 1998)
Holding
The Patent and Plant Variety Protection Remedy Clarification Act did not constitutionally abrogate the states' sovereign immunity.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Rehnquist, joined by O'Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas
Dissent Stevens, joined by Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer
Laws applied
Patent Clause, Commerce Clause, U.S. Const. amend. XI, U.S. Const. amend. XIV

Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Education Expense Board v. College Savings Bank, 527 U.S. 627 (1999), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States relating to the doctrine of sovereign immunity.

Florida Prepaid was a companion case to the similarly named (but not to be confused) College Savings Bank v. Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Education Expense Board, 527 U.S. 666 (1999). Where College Savings Bank was an action brought under the Lanham Act, Florida Prepaid was a concurrent action brought under the Patent and Plant Variety Protection Remedy Clarification Act. Although it was unnecessary to reach the question of whether Congress had validly abrogated Florida's sovereign immunity in College Savings Bank, the question was unavoidable in Florida Prepaid.

In a 5-4 decision authored by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, the court held that the Act's abrogation of States' sovereign immunity was invalid. Congress could only abrogate sovereign immunity pursuant to its powers under § 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment and not Article I (see Fitzpatrick v. Bitzer; Seminole Tribe v. Florida). Applying the § 5 test provided in City of Boerne v. Flores, the validity of the Act could not be sustained.

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