Abrogation Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

The abrogation doctrine explains as to when and how the Congress may waive a states sovereign immunity and subject it to lawsuits to which the state has not consented.

The doctrine was first stated by the supreme court in Fitzpatrick v. Bitzer, 427 U.S. 445 (1976).

In Seminole Tribe v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44 (1996), the Supreme Court ruled that the congress’s authority, under Article one of the United States Constitution, could not be used to abrogate state sovereign immunity. However, the Congress can authorize lawsuits seeking monetary damages against individual U.S. states when it acts pursuant to powers delegated to it by amendments subsequent to the Eleventh Amendment.