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Va. Office for Prot. & Advocacy v. Stewart

Supreme Court of the United States

December 1, 2010, Argued; April 19, 2011, Decided

No. 09-529

Opinion

 [*250]  [***683]  Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court.

We consider whether Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123, 28 S. Ct. 441, 52 L. Ed. 714 (1908),  [****6] allows a federal court to hear a lawsuit for prospective relief against state officials brought by another agency of the same State.

The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act), 114 Stat. 1677, 42 U.S.C. § 15001 et seq., [**1636]  offers States federal money to improve community services, such as medical care and job training, for individuals with developmental disabilities. See §§ 15023(a), 15024. As a condition of that funding, a State must establish a protection and advocacy (P) system “to protect and advocate the rights of individuals with developmental disabilities.” § 15043(a)(1). The P system receives separate federal funds, paid to it directly. § 15042(a) and (b). A second federal law, the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act (PAIMI Act), 100 Stat. 478, 42 U.S.C. § 10801 et seq., increases that separate funding and extends the mission of P systems to include the mentally ill. §§ 10802(2), 10803, 10827. At present, every State accepts funds under these statutes.

Under the DD and PAIMI Acts, a P system must have certain powers. The system “shall . . . have the authority to investigate incidents of abuse and neglect  [****7] . . . if the incidents are reported to the system or if there is probable cause to believe that the incidents occurred.” § 15043(a)(2)(B); § 10805(a)(1)(A). Subject to certain statutory requirements, it must be given access to “all records” of individuals who  [*251]  may have been abused, see § 15043(a)(2)(I)(iii)(II); § 10805(a)(4)(B)(iii), as well as “other records that are relevant to conducting an investigation,” § 15043(a)(2)(J)(i). The Acts also require that a P system have authority to “pursue legal, administrative, and other appropriate remedies or approaches to ensure the protection of” its charges. § 15043(a)(2)(A)(i); see § 10805(a)(1)(B). And in addition to pressing its own rights, a P system may “pursue administrative, legal, and other remedies on behalf of” those it protects. § 10805(a)(1)(C); see § 15044(b).

A participating State is free to appoint either a state agency or a private nonprofit entity as its P system. § 15044(a); § 10805(c)(1)(B). But in either case, the designated entity must have certain structural features that ensure its independence from the State's government. The DD Act prohibits the Governor from appointing more than one-third of the members of the  [****8] system's governing board, § 15044(a)(2), and restricts the State's ability to impose hiring freezes or other measures that would impair the system's ability to carry out its mission, § 15043(a)(2)(K). Once a State designates an entity as its P system, it may not change its selection without “good cause.” § 15043(a)(4)(A).

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563 U.S. 247 *; 131 S. Ct. 1632 **; 179 L. Ed. 2d 675 ***; 2011 U.S. LEXIS 3186 ****; 79 U.S.L.W. 4253; 22 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 935

VIRGINIA OFFICE FOR PROTECTION AND ADVOCACY Petitioner v. JAMES W. STEWART III, COMMISSIONER, VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF BEHAVIORAL HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES, et al.

Prior History:  [****1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT.

Virginia v. Reinhard, 568 F.3d 110, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 11737 (4th Cir. Va., 2009)

Disposition: Reversed and remanded.

CORE TERMS

parte, federal court, sovereign immunity, state official, state agency, sovereignty, federal right, fiction, injunction, sovereign, dignity, suits, federal law, entities, records, immunity, cases, state law, advocacy, lawsuit, appointed, quotation, invoke, funds, marks, sovereign-immunity, straightforward, vindicate, courts, violation of federal law

Public Health & Welfare Law, Social Services, Mentally Ill & Mentally Retarded Individuals, Advocacy & Protection, Disabled & Elderly Persons, Advocacy & Protection, General Overview, Medical Records, Governments, State & Territorial Governments, Claims By & Against, Constitutional Law, State Sovereign Immunity, Abrogation of Immunity, Waiver, Congressional Duties & Powers, Commerce Clause, Limitations, Bill of Rights, State Application, Civil Procedure, US Supreme Court Review