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Eleventh Amendment Does Not Protect State Officials


The state of Ohio passes a law that taxes the Bank of the United States when it does business within the state, but the U.S. Supreme Court finds that the tax is unconstitutional and orders that it cannot be enforced. A persistent state auditor, Ralph Osborn, goes ahead and collects the tax by seizing $100,000 from the federal bank. In Osborn v. Bank of the United States, the U.S. Supreme Court holds that Osborn can be ordered to return the money to the federal bank and that public officials acting on behalf of the state who knowingly committing an illegal act do not have the same constitutional protection enjoyed by states under the Eleventh Amendment.