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Pennhurst State School & Hospital v. Halderman - Significance, The Developmentally Disabled Assistance And Bill Of Rights Act, Further Readings

petitioner court respondent federal


Pennhurst State School & Hospital


Terri Lee Halderman

Petitioner's Claim

That the federal court cannot award injunctive relief against state officials where the relief is justified through state law.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

H. Bartow Farr III

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Thomas K. Gilhool

Justices for the Court

Warren E. Burger, Sandra Day O'Connor, Lewis F. Powell, Jr. (writing for the Court), William H. Rehnquist, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, John Paul Stevens


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

23 January 1984


The Eleventh Amendment of the Constitution bars federal courts from granting an injunction ordering state officials to conform their conduct to state law.

Related Cases

  • Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908).
  • Ashwander v. Tennessee Valley Authority, 297 U.S. 288 (1936).
  • Hutto v. Finney, 437 U.S. 678 (1978).


Bradley, David, and Shelley Fisher Fishkin, eds. The Encyclopedia of Civil Rights in America. Armonk, NY: Sharpe, 1998.

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over 7 years ago

Hi, My name is chrissy. I did a reporrt on the Pennhurst State School and Hospital my senior year in high school. And later that year i Leared that one of my relatives went there because they were pronounced mentaly retarded. After all my resurch after that i can't beleive the state let that go on. After that i started to watch a new show called gost adentures. They did a show on this very topic. The PennHouse state mental hospital.I watched that very episiode over and over and i was listening to the people talk about how they can hear children screaming at night and they are calling out for help. All because they were told they were mentaly retarded. If anyone in that hospital was mentaly retarded it was the staff. I hope that every child that is locked in this world because of what happend to them find peace and move on. Thankyou.