Interpretive Issues in Seminole and Alden

16 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2016 Last revised: 28 Apr 2018

See all articles by Lackland Bloom

Lackland Bloom

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

Date Written: 2002


For students of constitutional interpretation, Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida and Alden v. Maine, two of the Court's most important recent Eleventh Amendment opinions, are gold mines. Each is a monumental opinion with lengthy and spirited debate between the majority and the dissents. Every significant method of constitutional interpretation (including textualism, original understanding, structure, precedent, doctrine, practice, and rhetoric) is employed by both the majorities and the dissents. Both the majorities and the dissents are able to advance solid and respectable arguments in favor of their positions. Arguably, these two cases could be used as texts for the study of virtually all of constitutional interpretation. Rather than attempting that however, I would like to focus on and analyze several discrete interpretive issues presented in these cases. I will concentrate primarily on Seminole, but I will also discuss Alden, especially where similar interpretive issues or arguments are raised.

Keywords: Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida, Alden v. Maine, Eleventh Amendment, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Interpretation

Suggested Citation

Bloom, Lackland, Interpretive Issues in Seminole and Alden (2002). SMU Law Review, Vol. 55, No. 2, 2002; SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 282. Available at SSRN:

Lackland Bloom (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

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