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Federal Maritime Commission v. South Carolina State Ports Authority

United States Supreme Court
535 U.S. 743 (2002)


South Carolina Maritime Services, Incorporated (Maritime Services) (plaintiff) requested permission from South Carolina State Ports Authority (the Authority) (defendant) to berth a cruise ship at the Port of Charleston, South Carolina on five occasions. The Authority denied the request each time based on a policy of denying berths to vessels whose primary purpose was gambling. Maritime Services then filed a complaint with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), alleging that the Authority’s refusals violated the Shipping Act of 1984. The Authority filed a motion to dismiss the complaint with the administrative law judge assigned to the matter. The Authority asserted that the Eleventh Amendment of the United States Constitution provided immunity against actions by private citizens before the FMC.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Thomas, J.)

Dissent (Breyer, J.)

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