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The Gang of Five (Chief Justice Rehnquist joined by Justices Kennedy, O’Connor, Scalia and Thomas) got their way in several cases involving states’ rights and immunity this week. Then they got the heck out of Dodge, as the Supreme Court ended its 1998-99 term. The court ruled that states were immune to suits based on federal labor and patent laws. Dissenters might have paraphrased Ben Franklin, who noted that a gelding may be grateful for the honor of being called a stallion, but he’s likely to be more grateful for the restoration of what’s rightfully his. Translation: what’s a right without a remedy?

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