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States Immune From Charges Filed With Federal Administrative Agencies


A gambling cruise asks South Carolina authorities for permission to dock in the state. South Carolina denies the request and the ship’s owners file a complaint with the Federal Maritime Commission, which finds that states have immunity from prosecution in federal courts, but not executive branch agencies. Upon appeal, in Federal Maritime Commission v. South Carolina State Ports Authority, the U.S. Supreme Court reverses the commission’s ruling. The Court holds that federal administrative agencies face the same restraints as the federal courts under the Eleventh Amendment.