Supreme Court splits on allowing states to sue each other

Supreme Court splits on allowing states to sue each other
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The Supreme Court split Tuesday over whether to overturn a previous ruling that allows one state to sue another but threw out a decision by Nevada’s Supreme Court that awarded $1 million in damages against a California agency.

The justices were divided 4-4 over whether to overturn Nevada v. Hall, which allows one state to be sued in another.


But in a 6-2 ruling, a majority ruled the Nevada Supreme Court was wrong to award $1 million in damages to a Nevada investor who had moved to the state and then sued government agencies in California.

The majority specifically said that the Nevada Supreme Court had ignored its typical rules of immunity by granting damages in excess of the $50,000 maximum that would be allowed in a similar suit against officials in Nevada.

“Instead, it has applied a special rule of law that evinces a ‘policy of hostility’ toward California,” Justice Stephen BreyerStephen BreyerLiberal, conservative Supreme Court justices unite in praising Stevens How much do you know about your government? A July 4 civics quiz  Conservative justices surprise court watchers with swing votes MORE wrote in the court’s decision.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasLiberal, conservative Supreme Court justices unite in praising Stevens Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — Harris walks back support for eliminating private insurance | Missouri abortion clinic to remain open through August | Georgia sued over 'heartbeat' abortion law Supreme Court rejects bid to restore Alabama abortion law MORE dissented from the court's majority decision to vacate the Nevada Supreme Court ruling and remand the case back to the lower court.

The Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt centered on investor Gilbert Hyatt, who said he moved from California to Nevada in 1991.

The California board claimed he moved in 1992 and owed California millions in taxes, penalties and interest.

The 4-4 ruling on overturning Nevada v. Hall is another split ruling for a court that could only have eight justices for some time.

Justice Antonin Scalia died in February, and Senate Republicans say they will not confirm any nominee from President Obama, preferring to leave the vacancy for the next president.