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Encyclopedia > Kimel v. Florida Board of Regents
Kimel v. Florida Board of Regents

Supreme Court of the United States
Argued October 13, 1999
Decided January 11, 2000
Full case name: Kimel et al. v. Florida Board of Regents et al.
Citations: {{{USVol}}} U.S. {{{USPage}}}
Holding
The Court held that Congress's enforcement powers under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution did not extend to the abrogation of state sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment where the discrimination complained of was based on age. Therefore the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA or Act) does not apply to states.
Court membership
Chief Justice: William Rehnquist
Associate Justices: John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer
Case opinions
Majority by: O'Connor
Joined by: O’Connor, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, Parts I, II, and IV of which were joined by Rehnquist, C. J., and Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas, JJ., and Part III of which was joined by Rehnquist, C. J., and Stevens, Scalia, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, JJ. Stevens, J., filed an opinion dissenting in part and concurring in part, in which Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, JJ., joined. Thomas, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which Kennedy, J., joined.
Dissent by: Stevens
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amends. XI, XIV

For more information on decisions of the William Rehnquist Court that include the issues of States' Rights and Civil Rights, see United States v. Morrison and Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama v. Garrett Image File history File links Seal_of_the_United_States_Supreme_Court. ... The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest judicial body in the United States and leads the judicial branch of the United States federal government. ... Type Bicameralism Houses Senate House of Representatives United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D, since January 4, 2007 Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D, since January 4, 2007 Members 535 plus 4 Delegates and 1 Resident Commissioner Political groups (as of November 7, 2006 elections) Democratic Party Republican... A number of amendments to the United States Constitution include a Congressional power of enforcement. ... The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is one of the post-Civil War amendments and it includes the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. ... The abrogation doctrine is a doctrine in United States constitutional law which permits the U.S. Congress to allow lawsuits seeking monetary damages against individual U.S. states, so long as this is usually done pursuant to a constitutional limitation on the power of the states. ... Sovereign immunity or crown immunity is a type of immunity that, in common law jurisdictions traces its origins from early English law. ... Amendment XI (the Eleventh Amendment) of the United States Constitution was passed by the U.S. Congress on March 4, 1794 and was ratified on February 7, 1795. ... William Hubbs Rehnquist (October 1, 1924 – September 3, 2005) was an American lawyer, jurist, and a political figure, who served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States and later as the Chief Justice of the United States. ... John Paul Stevens (born April 20, 1920) is an American jurist, and the senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. ... Sandra Day OConnor (born March 26, 1930) is an American jurist who served as the first female Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1981 to 2006. ... Antonin Gregory Scalia (born March 11, 1936) is an American jurist and the second most senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. ... Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Anthony Kennedy For other people of the same name, see Anthony Kennedy (disambiguation). ... David Hackett Souter (born September 17, 1939) has been an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1990. ... Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an American jurist and has been an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1991. ... Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg (born March 15, 1933) is an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. ... Stephen Gerald Breyer (born August 15, 1938) is an American attorney, political figure, and jurist. ... Amendment XI (the Eleventh Amendment) of the United States Constitution was passed by the U.S. Congress on March 4, 1794 and was ratified on February 7, 1795. ... The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is one of the post-Civil War amendments and it includes the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. ... William Hubbs Rehnquist (October 1, 1924 – September 3, 2005) was an American lawyer, jurist, and a political figure, who served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States and later as the Chief Justice of the United States. ... States rights refers to the idea that U.S. states possess certain rights and political powers in the politics of the United States and constitutional law. ... Civil rights or positive rights are those legal rights retained by citizens and protected by the government. ... Holding The Violence Against Women Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 13981, is unconstitutional as exceeding congressional power under the Commerce Clause and under section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. ... Holding The Court held that Congresss enforcement powers under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution did not extend to the abrogation of state sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment where the discrimination complained of was rationally based on a disability. ...


Kimel v. Florida Board of Regents was a United States Supreme Court case that determined that the Congress's enforcement powers under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution did not extend to the abrogation of state sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment where the discrimination complained of was rationally based on age. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest judicial body in the United States and leads the judicial branch of the United States federal government. ... Type Bicameralism Houses Senate House of Representatives United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D, since January 4, 2007 Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D, since January 4, 2007 Members 535 plus 4 Delegates and 1 Resident Commissioner Political groups (as of November 7, 2006 elections) Democratic Party Republican... A number of amendments to the United States Constitution include a Congressional power of enforcement. ... The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is one of the post-Civil War amendments and it includes the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. ... The abrogation doctrine is a doctrine in United States constitutional law which permits the U.S. Congress to allow lawsuits seeking monetary damages against individual U.S. states, so long as this is usually done pursuant to a constitutional limitation on the power of the states. ... Sovereign immunity or crown immunity is a type of immunity that, in common law jurisdictions traces its origins from early English law. ... Amendment XI (the Eleventh Amendment) of the United States Constitution was passed by the U.S. Congress on March 4, 1794 and was ratified on February 7, 1795. ...

Contents

Facts

Employees of Florida State University and Florida International University, including J. Daniel Kimel, Jr., sued under the ADEA law because failure to adjust pay had a disparate impact on older employees. Wellington Dickson sued his employer, the Florida Department of Corrections, for not promoting him because of his age. Roderick MacPherson and Marvin Narz, who were associate professors at the University of Montevallo in Alabama, sued under the ADEA law alleging an evaluation system that discriminated against the elderly.


The Kimel v. Florida Board of Regents U. S. Supreme Court decision overturned the part of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 that applied to states. The case was decided January 11, 2000. Justices O'Connor, Rehnquist, Thomas, Scalia and Kennedy voted for the decision. Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer dissented. Justice O'Connor wrote the majority opinion for this case. PWNED!!! ...


Rationale

O'Connor said that the Eleventh Amendment implies the sovereign immunity of states, but that Congress had properly declared its Fourteenth Amendment right to subject states to suits by individuals. However, due to a rational basis review test the equal protection clause applies to state governments only for irrational acts such as discrimination based on "race or gender", where a "history of purposeful unequal treatment" indicates irrational discrimination. She said that age discrimination serves a rational state interest, and that the rationality of age discrimination doesn't need to be applied "with razorlike precision"[1] on an individual basis, but can be applied to the elderly as a group. Therefore, ADEA failed to show the "congruence and proportionality" required by City of Boerne v. Flores between the harm Congress sought to correct and the legislation passed to correct it. Sovereign immunity or crown immunity is a type of immunity that, in common law jurisdictions traces its origins from early English law. ... Rational basis rest, in U.S. constitutional law, is the lowest level of scrutiny applied by courts deciding constitutional issues through judicial review. ... City of Boerne v. ...


O'Connor explained the Court's decision as follows:

Age classifications, unlike governmental conduct based on race or gender, cannot be characterized as “so seldom relevant to the achievement of any legitimate state interest that laws grounded in such considerations are deemed to reflect prejudice and antipathy.” City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, Inc. ...

States may discriminate on the basis of age without offending the Fourteenth Amendment if the age classification in question is rationally related to a legitimate state interest. The rationality commanded by the Equal Protection Clause does not require States to match age distinctions and the legitimate interests they serve with razorlike precision ... City of Cleburne v. ... The words inscribed above the entrance to the U.S. Supreme Court are: Equal justice under law The Equal Protection Clause, part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, provides that no state shall… deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. ...


Under the Fourteenth Amendment, a State may rely on age as a proxy for other qualities, abilities, or characteristics that are relevant to the State’s legitimate interests. The Constitution does not preclude reliance on such generalizations. That age proves to be an inaccurate proxy in any individual case is irrelevant. “[W]here rationality is the test, a State ‘does not violate the Equal Protection Clause merely because the classifications made by its laws are imperfect.’ ” Murgia, supra, at 316 (quoting Dandridge v. Williams)

Justice Stevens' dissenting opinion said, "There is not a word in the text of the Constitution supporting the Court’s conclusion that the judge-made doctrine of sovereign immunity limits Congress’ power to authorize private parties, as well as federal agencies, to enforce federal law against the States." He referred to the "sovereign immunity" theory of Seminole Tribe v. Florida and Alden v. Maine as "judicial activism." Judicial activism is the tendency of some judges to take a flexible view of their power of judicial interpretation, especially when such judges import subjective reasoning that displaces objective evaluation of applicable law. ...


Significance of Boerne to the Kimel decision

Kimel reaffirmed the Court's 1997 City of Boerne v. Flores precedent. With Boerne, the Court sought to "limit congressional power" to enforce the Equal Protection Clause on the theory that Congress "has been given the power 'to enforce,' not the power to determine what constitutes a constitutional violation." Because of the Boerne "congruence and proportionality" requirement, Congress could no longer exceed the Court's interpretation of the Equal Protection Clause. This congruence requirement replaced the previous theory advanced in Katzenbach v. Morgan that the Equal Protection Clause is "a positive grant of legislative power authorizing Congress to exercise its discretion in determining the need for and nature of legislation to secure Fourteenth Amendment guarantees." Before the 1997 Boerne decision, Katzenbach v. Morgan was widely interpreted as allowing Congress to go beyond, but not fall short of, the Court's interpretation of the Equal Protection Clause. City of Boerne v. ... Holding Congress may enact laws stemming from its 14th Amendment enforcement power that increase the rights of citizens beyond what the judiciary has recognized. ...


The holding of Boerne said that only the Court could interprete the Constitution in order to maintain the "traditional separation of powers between Congress and the Judiciary." Also, Boerne[2] relied on states' rights arguments[3] based on "enumerated powers." The intent of Boerne was to prevent "a considerable congressional intrusion into the States' traditional prerogatives and general authority."


Related issues

According to the University of New Mexico's New Mexico Law Review, although the Kimel decision bars state employees from suing states for money damages for age discrimination, it might still be possible to sue under Ex parte Young for prospective, injunctive relief, rather than monetary damages. Damages, in law has two different meanings. ... Holding --- Court membership Case opinions Laws applied --- Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908), was a United States Supreme Court case that allowed suits against officials acting on behalf of states of the union to proceed despite the States sovereign immunity, when the State acted unconstitutionally. ...


The "sovereign immunity" of states from being sued is from English common law, and used to refer to the sovereignty of a King. The 1890 U. S. Supreme Court case Hans v. Louisiana interpreted the Eleventh Amendment as implying the sovereign immunity of states from being sued, even though it only says that citizens of one state can't sue another state. The Ex parte Young case of 1908 allows state representatives to be sued for injunctive relief when violating the Constitution. In 1974 Rehnquist interpreted this relief to be only prospective in Edelman v. Jordan in order to prevent states from having to pay monetary damages for past unconstitutional acts. The Rehnquist Court reaffirmed the sovereign immunity of states in Alden v. Maine and Seminole Tribe v. Florida, which placed still more interpretive limits on Ex parte Young. Holding --- Court membership Case opinions Laws applied --- Hans v. ... Holding --- Court membership Case opinions Laws applied --- Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908), was a United States Supreme Court case that allowed suits against officials acting on behalf of states of the union to proceed despite the States sovereign immunity, when the State acted unconstitutionally. ... Holding --- Court membership Case opinions Laws applied --- Edelman v. ... Holding Congress may not abrogate states sovereign immunity in their own courts. ... Holding Congress does not have the power pursuant to the Commerce Clause to abrogate the sovereign immunity afforded to states under the 11th Amendment; the doctrine of Ex parte Young, which allows parties to seek relief against state officials for violations of the Constitution or laws of the United States...


Strict scrutiny is more strict than rational basis review in theory, and was successful 20% of the time by the early 2000s according to Adam Winkler of the UCLA School of Law.[4] Strict scrutiny is the highest standard of judicial review used by courts in the United States. ... Rational basis rest, in U.S. constitutional law, is the lowest level of scrutiny applied by courts deciding constitutional issues through judicial review. ...


Notes

  1. ^ Finally, in Gregory, we upheld a provision of the Missouri Constitution that required judges to retire at age 70. Noting that the Missouri provision was based on a generalization about the effect of old age on the ability of individuals to serve as judges, we acknowledged that “[i]t is far from true that all judges suffer significant deterioration in performance at age 70,” “[i]t is probably not true that most do,” and “[i]t may not be true at all.” 501 U.S., at 473. Nevertheless, because Missouri’s age classification was subject only to rational basis review, we held that the State’s reliance on such imperfect generalizations was entirely proper under the Equal Protection Clause. Ibid. These decisions thus demonstrate that the constitutionality of state classifications on the basis of age cannot be determined on a person-by-person basis. Our Constitution permits States to draw lines on the basis of age when they have a rational basis for doing so at a class-based level, even if it “is probably not true” that those reasons are valid in the majority of cases." - O'Connor's opinion of the Court
  2. ^ Kennedy's opinion for the Court, City of Boerne v. Flores
  3. ^ Democrats and conservative Republicans argued that the proposed Amendment would give Congress a power to intrude into traditional areas of state responsibility, a power inconsistent with the federal design central to the Constitution. Typifying these views, Republican Representative Robert Hale of New York labeled the Amendment “an utter departure from every principle ever dreamed of by the men who framed our Constitution,” id., at 1063, and warned that under it “all State legislation, in its codes of civil and criminal jurisprudence and procedures … may be overridden, may be repealed or abolished, and the law of Congress established instead.” Ibid. Senator William Stewart of Nevada likewise stated the Amendment would permit “Congress to legislate fully upon all subjects affecting life, liberty, and property,” such that “there would not be much left for the State Legislatures,” and would thereby “work an entire change in our form of government.” - City of Boerne v. Flores, Justice Kennedy's opinion for the Court - These opinions were remarks by 19th century "Democrats and conservative Republicans" with reference to an early draft of the Fourteenth Amendment that were quoted by Kennedy
  4. ^ Fatal in Theory and Strict in Fact,: An Empirical Analysis of Strict Scrutiny in the Federal Courts, Adam Winkler, University of California, Los Angeles - School of Law

External links

Kimel v. Florida Board of Regents, U. S. Supreme court, decided January 11, 2000


 
 

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