A novel interpretation on the origins of sovereign immunity
In an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in Franchise Tax Board of California v. Gilbert P. Hyatt, Professor Stephen Sachs and co-author William Baude articulate a novel interpretation of the origins of sovereign immunity in U.S. law. On the central issue before the Court, whether states enjoy sovereign immunity in other states' courts, they argue that while state-court sovereign immunity was not addressed in the Constitution, it was a recognized doctrine of common law before the document was ratified. Sachs discussed his theory on the "First Mondays" podcast Jan. 28. Host Dan Epps hailed its originality, calling it “quite different from how the Court has been thinking about (sovereign immunity) and the parties think about it."
Stephen Sachs is a scholar of civil procedure, constitutional law, Anglo-American legal history, and conflict of laws with research interests that include federal jurisdiction, constitutional interpretation, sovereign immunity, and the legal status of corporations.