Supreme Court: State can't be sued in another's courts

The Supreme Court Building in Washington D.C., Photo Date: 1/4/2018 / Photo: Guyyoung1966 / Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 4.0 / (MGN)
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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court is ruling that one state cannot unwillingly be sued in the courts of another, overruling a 40-year precedent.

The justices are dividing 5-4 Monday in ending a long-running dispute between California officials and Nevada inventor Gilbert Hyatt.

Hyatt is a former California resident who sued California's tax agency for being too zealous in seeking back taxes from him. Hyatt won a judgment in Nevada courts.

But Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the court's conservative justices that the Constitution forbids states from opening the doors of their courts to a private citizen's lawsuit against another state. In 1979, the high court concluded otherwise.

The four liberal justices dissented.

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