Palmer v. State of Ohio, No. 260

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtCLARKE
Citation248 U.S. 32,39 S.Ct. 16,63 L.Ed. 108
PartiesPALMER et al. v. STATE OF OHIO
Decision Date18 November 1918
Docket NumberNo. 260

248 U.S. 32
39 S.Ct. 16
63 L.Ed. 108
PALMER et al.

v.

STATE OF OHIO.

No. 260.

Submitted on Motion to Affirm Oct. 28, 1918.

Decided Nov. 18, 1918.

Page 33

Messrs. John G. Romer, of St. Henry, Ohio, and T. F. Raudabaugh, of Celina, Ohio, for plaintiffs in error.

Messrs. Clarence D. Laylin and Frank Davis, Jr., both of Columbus, Ohio, for the State of Ohio.

Mr. Justice CLARKE delivered the opinion of the Court.

The plaintiffs in error sued the state of Ohio for damages for flooding lands by elevating the spillway of a state-maintained dam. The Supreme Court of the state affirmed the action of the lower courts in dismissing the petition on the ground that the state had not consented so to be sued, and we are asked to review this decision.

The plaintiffs in error agree, as they must, that their suit cannot be maintained without the consent of the state, but they claim that such consent was given in an amendment to section 16 of article 1 of the state Constitution, adopted in 1912, which reads:

'Suits may be brought against the state, in such courts and in such manner, as may be provided by law.'

The state Supreme Court held that this amendment is not self-executing, and that the General Assembly of the state having failed to designate the courts and the manner in which such suits might be brought, effective consent to sue had not been given. This decision, the plaintiffs in error claim, vaguely and indefinitely, somehow deprives them of their property without due process of law, in

Page 34

violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

The right of individuals to sue a state, in either a federal or a state court, cannot be derived from the Constitution or laws of the United States. It can come only from the consent of the state. Beers v. State of Arkansas, 20 How. 527, 15 L. Ed. 991; Railroad Co. v. Tennessee, 101 U. S. 337, 25 L. Ed. 960; Hans v. Louisiana, 134 U. S. 1, 10 Sup. Ct. 504, 33 L. Ed. 842. Whether Ohio gave the required consent must be determined by the construction to be given to the constitutional amendment quoted, and this is a question of local state law, as to which the decision of the state Supreme Court is controlling with this court, no federal right being involved. Elmendorf v. Taylor, 10 Wheat. 152, 159, 6 L. Ed. 289; Old Colony Trust Co. v. Omaha, 230 U. S. 100, 116, 33 Sup. Ct. 967, 57 L. Ed. 1410; Memphis Street Railway Co. v. Moore, 243 U. S. 299, 301, 37 Sup. Ct....

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60 practice notes
  • Seminole Tribe Florida v. Florida, 9412
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 27, 1996
    ...U.S. 693, 20 S.Ct. 1031, 44 L.Ed. 945 (1900); Smith v. Reeves, 178 U.S. 436, 446, 20 S.Ct. 919, 923, 44 L.Ed. 1140 (1900); Palmer v. Ohio, 248 U.S. 32, 34, 39 S.Ct. 16, 16-17, 63 L.Ed. 108 (1918); Duhne v. New Jersey, 251 U.S. 311, 313, 40 S.Ct. 154, 64 L.Ed. 280 (1920); Ex parte New York, ......
  • Kristensen v. Strinden, No. 10422
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • December 21, 1983
    ...the Supremacy Clause, may raise sovereign immunity as a bar to a suit for violation of Federal constitutional rights. In Palmer v. Ohio, 248 U.S. 32, 34, 39 S.Ct. 16, 63 L.Ed. 108, 109 (1918), the Court stated that "[t]he right of individuals to sue a State, in either a federal or a state c......
  • Ernst v. Roberts, No. 02-2287.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • August 12, 2004
    ...U.S. 693, 20 S.Ct. 1031, 44 L.Ed. 945 (1900); Smith v. Reeves, 178 U.S. 436, 446, 20 S.Ct. 919, 923, 44 L.Ed. 1140 (1900); Palmer v. Ohio, 248 U.S. 32, 34, 39 S.Ct. 16, 16-17, 63 L.Ed. 108 (1918); Duhne v. New Jersey, 251 U.S. 311, 313, 40 S.Ct. 154, 64 L.Ed. 280 (1920); Ex parte New York, ......
  • O'CONNOR v. Slaker, No. 7767.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • October 10, 1927
    ...and could not, in any wise bind the state so as to make the decree rendered against it of any validity." And in Palmer v. State of Ohio, 248 U. S. 32, 39 S. Ct. 16, 63 L. Ed. 108, it was held that the right of individuals to sue a state in either federal or state courts cannot be derived fr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
59 cases
  • Kristensen v. Strinden, No. 10422
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • December 21, 1983
    ...the Supremacy Clause, may raise sovereign immunity as a bar to a suit for violation of Federal constitutional rights. In Palmer v. Ohio, 248 U.S. 32, 34, 39 S.Ct. 16, 63 L.Ed. 108, 109 (1918), the Court stated that "[t]he right of individuals to sue a State, in either a federal or a state c......
  • Ernst v. Roberts, No. 02-2287.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • August 12, 2004
    ...U.S. 693, 20 S.Ct. 1031, 44 L.Ed. 945 (1900); Smith v. Reeves, 178 U.S. 436, 446, 20 S.Ct. 919, 923, 44 L.Ed. 1140 (1900); Palmer v. Ohio, 248 U.S. 32, 34, 39 S.Ct. 16, 16-17, 63 L.Ed. 108 (1918); Duhne v. New Jersey, 251 U.S. 311, 313, 40 S.Ct. 154, 64 L.Ed. 280 (1920); Ex parte New York, ......
  • Atascadero State Hospital v. Scanlon, No. 84-351
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 28, 1985
    ...U.S. 693, 20 S.Ct. 1031, 44 L.Ed. 945 (1900); Smith v. Reeves, 178 U.S. 436, 446, 20 S.Ct. 919, 923, 44 L.Ed. 1140 (1900); Palmer v. Ohio, 248 U.S. 32, 34, 39 S.Ct. 16, 17, 63 L.Ed. 108 (1918); Duhne v. New Jersey, 251 U.S. 311, 313, 40 S.Ct. 154, 64 L.Ed. 280 (1920); Ex parte New York, 256......
  • Lee-Thomas v. Prince George's Cnty. Pub. Sch., No. 10–1699.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • January 11, 2012
    ...provision or statute is a matter of state law, “as to which the decision of the [state's highest court] is controlling.” Palmer v. Ohio, 248 U.S. 32, 34, 39 S.Ct. 16, 63 L.Ed. 108 (1918). The Board contends, nevertheless, that the Court effectively overruled Palmer in its unanimous 2002 Lap......
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1 books & journal articles
  • Citizen Suits Against States and Territories and the Eleventh Amendment
    • United States
    • The Clean Water Act and the Constitution. Legal Structure and the Public's Right to a Clean and Healthy Environment Part II
    • April 20, 2009
    ...(1933) (same); Ex Parte New York, 256 U.S. 490, 497 (1921) (same); Duhne v. New Jersey, 251 U.S. 311, 313 (1920) (same); Palmer v. Ohio, 248 U.S. 32, 34 (1918) (same); Smith v. Reeves, 178 U.S. 436, 446 (1900) (same); Fitts v. McGhee, 172 U.S. 516, 524 (1899) (same); North Carolina v. Templ......

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