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Following hard on the heels of two unanimous decisions sustaining the authority of state courts to enforce federal law, two more unanimous rulings at the end of the 1989 Supreme Court Term strongly emphasized their duty to do so. McKesson Corporation v. Division of Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco, held that the states must provide meaningful postpayment remedies for parties forced to pay state taxes that had been extracted contrary to the commerce clause, and Howlett v. Rose affirmed the existence of a nearly inescapable duty in the state courts to entertain section 1983 actions. Additionally, three days after Howlett, the Court held in Wilder v. Virginia Hospital Association, that the Boren Amendment to the Medicaid Act, which requires states to reimburse health care providers in accordance with rates that are "'reasonable and adequate to meet the cost ... incurred,'" is enforceable by providers in section 1983 actions. Finally, in Dennis v. Higgins, the Court granted certiorari to decide whether dormant commerce clause claims can be maintained under section 1983.

Against this background of unfolding opportunities for plaintiffs to vindicate their federal rights, Golden State Transit Corporation v. City of Los Angeles, decided early in the Term, may escape much independent notice even among federal court specialists despite its likely significance.


Constitutional Law | Law | Torts