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IDEA is Constitutional

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was valid under 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment and therefore Congress successfully abrogated states' Eleventh Amendment immunity. Alternatively, it provides an unambiguous waiver of Eleventh Amendment immunity by clearly conditioning the receipt of federal funds on states' willingness to waive that immunity. The mere receipt of federal funds is not sufficient to waive Eleventh Amendment immunity; it takes "unequivocal notice" in the statute that waiver will be the consequence. The Court notes that the Rehabilitation Act also contains such a waiver.

Later, a different panel held that the intervening Supreme Court Eleventh Amendment decisions (Alden et al.) overruled Mauney and that the Spending Clause can't support an Eleventh Amendment waiver. Bradley v. Arkansas Dept. of Education, 189 F.3d 745 (8th Cir. 1999). Then the court vacated that holding and scheduled rehearing en banc, without decision to date. Jim C. v. Arkansas Dept. of Education, 197 F.3d 958 (8th Cir. 1999). See: Little Rock School District v. Mauney, 183 F.3d 816 (8th Cir. 1999).

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Related legal case

Little Rock School District v. Mauney