Pennhurst State School and Hospital v. Halderman

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Pennhurst State School and Hospital v. Halderman
Seal of the United States Supreme Court
Argued February 22, 1983
Reargued October 3, 1983
Decided January 23, 1984
Full case namePennhurst State School and Hospital v. Halderman
Docket no.81-2101
Citations465 U.S. 89 (more)
104 S. Ct. 900; 79 L. Ed. 2d 67
ArgumentOral argument
Court membership
Chief Justice
Warren E. Burger
Associate Justices
William J. Brennan Jr. · Byron White
Thurgood Marshall · Harry Blackmun
Lewis F. Powell Jr. · William Rehnquist
John P. Stevens · Sandra Day O'Connor
Case opinions
MajorityPowell, joined by Burger, White, Rehnquist, O'Connor
DissentStevens, joined by Brennan, Marshall, Blackmun
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. XI; Developmentally Disabled Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 1975

Pennhurst State School and Hospital v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89 (1984), was a United States Supreme Court decision holding that the Eleventh Amendment prohibits a federal court from ordering state officials to obey state law.[1]






Subsequent developments[edit]

The Pennhurst Longitudinal Study[edit]

Analysis and significance[edit]

A panel discussion: five people sitting at a long table facing an audience out of frame and the moderator, Janet Albert-Herman, standing at a podium. The room is slightly dark and woody. A screen with captioning is behind the panel.
Panel discussion, "The Disability Rights Movement: From Pennhurst Until Today", U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, Washington, D.C., 27 June 2016. Left to right: James W. Conroy, principal investigator on the Pennhurst Longitudinal Study and Co-President of the Pennhurst Memorial and Preservation Alliance; Nancy Thaler, Deputy Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services; Peter Berns, Chief Executive Officer, the Arc of the United States; Jean Searle, member of the Pennhurst class and Co-President of the Pennhurst Memorial and Preservation Alliance; Thomas Gilhool, Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and lead plaintiff's attorney in Penshurst v. Halderman; Janet Albert-Herman, a board member of the Arc of Pennsylvania and Treasurer of the Pennhurst Memorial and Preservation Alliance.

The Pennhurst doctrine[edit]


  1. ^ Pennhurst State School and Hospital v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89 (1984).


Court documents
Law journal analyses
  • Boyd, Penelope A. (1981). "The Aftermath of the DD Act: Is there Life after Pennhurst?". University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law Journal. University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Bowen School of Law. 4 (3): 448–466.
  • Brant, Jonathan (1983). "Pennhurst, Romeo, and Rogers: The Burger Court and Mental Health Law Reform Litigation". The Journal of Legal Medicine. 4 (3): 323–348. doi:10.1080/01947648309513387.
  • Brant, Jonathan (1983). "The Hostility of the Burger Court to Mental Health Law Reform Litigation". Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. 11 (1): 77–90.
  • Chemerinsky, Erwin (Summer 1985). "State Sovereignty and Federal Court Power: The Eleventh Amendment after Pennhurst v. Halderman" (PDF). Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly. University of California, Hastings College of the Law. 12 (4): 643–668.
  • Ferleger, David; Boyd, Penelope A. (April 1979). "Anti-Institutionalization: The Promise of the Pennhurst Case". Stanford Law Review. Stanford Law School. 31 (4): 717–752. doi:10.2307/1228423. JSTOR 1228423.
  • Ferleger, David; Scott, Patrice Maguire (1983). "Rights and Dignity: Congress, the Supreme Court, and People with Disabilities after Pennhurst". Western New England Law Review. Western New England University School of Law. 5 (3): 327–361.
  • Smith, Peter J. (May 2001). "Penshurst, Chevron, and the Spending Power". Yale Law Journal. The Yale Law Journal Company, Inc. 110 (7): 1, 187–1, 245.
Other sources


Subsequent case law[edit]

Other related cases[edit]

External links[edit]