Gilbert P. Hyatt was an inventor in the IT industry. Eventually, he invented some shit that was actually useful and the cash started rolling in.
Hyatt lived in California, and I don’t think we need to talk about the way the California tax code rapes the people who live there. Hyatt decided he didn’t want to be a victim, and fled to glorious Nevada. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas—including Hyatt’s income, or so he thought.
Some communist California official saw articles on Hyatt back in 1993, specifically how much cash he was rolling in, and was like, “I want me some of that!” Communists LOVE other people’s money.
So when this douche-bag from California saw Hyatt had left California, they went about harassing the hell out of him. Claimed he owed 4.5 million-ish in taxes and penalties to the state of California. They felt like his apartment in Nevada was just to avoid paying California taxes, and that he still really resided in California, presumably living with someone else or something to make it look like he didn’t really live there. Side note: If that’s true, he’s my hero.
Hyatt sued California in his new home state of Nevada saying they were harassing him, and that he didn’t owe them a fucking dime. As a matter of fact, he wanted them to pay him pain and suffering and shit.
Apparently Nevada REALLY doesn’t like California, because they awarded Hyatt $85M for emotional distress, $52M for invasion of privacy, and $250M in punitive damages. $387 million dollars, y’all!
California was all like, “this is some bullshit! State sovereignty motherfuckers! Do you speak it?”
State sovereignty has a history in English law, which was basically to protect the king from being sued, because those crooked-tooth motherfuckers thought the king was more perfect than Sofia Vergara’s face (which science has proved impossible).
How state sovereignty in the United States is even a thing is pretty ridiculous. It’s about as un-American as a French accent.
But back in 1793, a dude from South Carolina in Chisholm v. Georgia sued Georgia for unpaid war debts. The SCOTUS of that time ruled for Chisholm, and left Georgia pretty fucking pissed.
So pissed in fact, that Georgia convinced other states that people were going to start suing the fuck out of them, too. So scared were those twats, that a couple years later, they amended the constitution with #11.
The intent was basically to say that the federal government couldn’t tell the states how to run their state—basically, mind your own fucking business, feds. But it also became clear that the states were somehow granting themselves the right to determine if they could be sued or not. Like that’s not a conflict of interest or anything.
So back to this wily mother fucker Hyatt. There was another suit Nevada v. Hall in 1979 that basically said one citizen of one state can sue another. They ruled 11a was merely to tell the federal government to stay out of it, but states could sue other states all they wanted. Now current SCOTUS was being asked to overrule that shit.
The right wing of current SCOTUS proving that they’re not the limited government people you think they are, decided that the old 1979 SCOTUS were a bunch of out of touch old geezers, and overruled those motherfuckers 5:4. Hell, most of them are dead anyway, what are they going to do about it?
The left-wing of SCOTUS dissented. It wasn’t so much that they were proving that they’re not the communists they think they are, but instead, that they think overruling a previous SCOTUS is in bad taste and leads to instability and insecurity within the court system.
Judgement for California. Too bad, so sad, Hyatt.
Read about the case and/or hear oral arguments here.