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LARSEN v. SENATE OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVAN

February 28, 1997

ROLF LARSEN, Plaintiff
v.
SENATE OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: RAMBO

 I. Introduction

 II. Procedural and Factual History

 Plaintiff Larsen is a former Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Larsen was initially elected to the Supreme Court for a ten-year term commencing in January 1978. He was reelected for a second term beginning in 1988. This case arises out of Larsen's removal from office in October 1993 based on allegations that he engaged in criminal activity. Larsen was removed from office by order of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on October 28, 1993, convicted on April 9, 1994 on two counts of criminal conspiracy under the Controlled Substances Act, impeached by the Senate on October 4, 1994, and removed from his position by the CJD on June 3, 1994. In this action, Larsen sues virtually every entity and individual which played a role in his removal from office. He claims, generally, various due process, First Amendment, and equal protection violations in the removal procedures afforded him. Larsen alleges the following facts in support of his claims.

 In or around 1988, the Judicial Inquiry and Review Board ("JIRB") charged Larsen with several violations of Article 5, Section 17(b) of the Pennsylvania Constitution. *fn1" Section 17(b) provides that "justices and judges shall not engage in any activity prohibited by law and shall not violate any canon of legal or judicial ethics prescribed by the Supreme Court." Pa. Const. art. 5, § 17(b). The JIRB investigated Larsen and on July 17, 1991 issued a report to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in which it found that Larsen, acting without improper motive, had created an appearance of impropriety by meeting ex parte with a trial judge presiding over a case pending in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. The JIRB recommended that Larsen be publicly reprimanded. In re Larsen, 532 Pa. 326, 616 A.2d 529 (Pa. 1992). On October 14, 1992, the Supreme Court by Justices Zappala and Cappy, with Justice Papadakos dissenting, issued an order per curiam without opinion adopting the JIRB's report and recommendation. Id.

 On November 24, 1992, Larsen served a petition for the disqualification and recusal of Justices Zappala and Cappy. Larsen served a "supplemental" petition on December 14, 1992, and a second "supplemental" petition on January 7, 1993. In his petitions, Larsen raised issues of partiality and improper motivation on the part of Justices Zappala and Cappy during the JIRB's investigation of him and in deciding to adopt the JIRB's report and recommendation. Larsen requested that Justices Zappala and Cappy recuse themselves or, in the alternative, that they be disqualified from considering the JIRB's report and recommendation. Larsen also accused Chief Justice Nix of acting improperly by interfering in a pending trial in Lehigh County, and interfering in the defendant's petition for allowance of appeal in that case.

 In response to Larsen's allegations, former attorney general Earnest Preate, Jr. appointed two special counsels to investigate Larsen's claims. Over the course of 1993, a grand jury heard testimony regarding Larsen's allegations as well as the JIRB's accusations against Larsen. The grand jury ultimately found two areas of alleged misconduct by Larsen: (1) that he systematically maintained a list of petitions for allowance of appeal to be given special handling by his staff, and (2) that he regularly obtained prescription medications for his own use by causing a physician to issue prescriptions in the names of members of his staff.

 On October 22, 1993, the grand jury recommended that criminal charges be brought against Larsen for his procurement of prescription drugs in the name of his staff members. On October 28, 1993, Larsen was charged with criminal conspiracy and multiple violations of the Controlled Substances Act. That same day, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court relieved Larsen "of any and all judicial and administrative responsibilities as a justice." (Defs.' Ex. B.) Larsen continued to receive his salary.

 In January 1993, while the grand jury was deliberating, Representative Christopher K. McNally filed a petition in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives calling for Larsen's impeachment based on alleged violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct. On November 5, 1993, the grand jury's report was made public. The grand jury report formed the basis for the Pennsylvania House of Representative's and the JCB's investigation of Larsen. The House Judiciary Committee requested and obtained copies of the transcripts of witnesses' testimony and exhibits presented to the grand jury. On November 23, 1993, the House adopted House Resolution No. 205 authorizing the House Judiciary Committee to investigate Larsen's conduct. The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts held public hearings in conjunction with its investigation into the allegations against Larsen.

 On April 9, 1994, after a five day trial in the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas, a jury convicted Larsen of two counts of criminal conspiracy under the Controlled Substances Act. Thereafter, on April 22, 1994, the House Subcommittee voted to recommend to the entire House a resolution to impeach Larsen. On May 18, 1994, House Resolution 324 was introduced listing seven articles of impeachment against Larsen and on May 24, 1994 the House adopted Resolution 324. *fn2"

 On June 6, 1994, the Senate received the articles of impeachment from the House Managers and pursuant to Article 10 of the Senate Rules of Practice and Procedure for impeachment trials, appointed a committee of six senators ("the Senate committee") to conduct evidentiary hearings regarding the allegations against Larsen. *fn3" Senator Robert Jubelirer, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, appointed Senators Stewart Greenleaf, Charles Lemmond, H. Craig Lewis, Jeannette Reibman, Tim Shaffer, and Hardy Williams to the committee. On June 20, 1994, Larsen filed an answer with new matter to the articles of impeachment. On June 30, 1994, Larsen filed an omnibus pretrial motion with the Senate, requesting that the Senate dismiss the action of the Senate committee and that his impeachment trial be held before the full Senate. Larsen also moved for a pretrial hearing before the full Senate, discovery, the recusal of certain Senators, a continuance, and the payment of attorney's fees and costs.

 On August 8, 1994, the Senate committee commenced evidentiary hearings on the articles of impeachment. The committee concluded hearings on September 9, 1994. On September 20, 1994, the full Senate heard oral argument on Larsen's pretrial motions and subsequently voted without debate to deny all of his motions.

 On September 27, 1994, the full Senate convened and heard closing arguments by the House Managers and Larsen's counsel. Simultaneously, the Senate committee for the first time provided the individual Senators and Larsen's counsel with a copy of its final report. The report contained a summary of evidence presented at the hearings.

 On October 4, 1994, the Senate voted on the seven articles of impeachment. The Senate voted forty-four to five to convict Larsen on article II. Article II charged Larsen with engaging in an ex parte communication with an attorney who was a friend and political supporter of his regarding two petitions for allowance of appeal the attorney had pending before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. At Larsen's request, the attorney indicated the position he was advocating in each case. Larsen ultimately voted in accordance with the attorney's stated positions. The Senate voted to acquit Larsen on the other six articles. The Senate then voted unanimously to bar Larsen from holding any office of trust or profit in Pennsylvania in the future.

 At the same time the House and Senate were proceeding against Larsen, the JCB was also investigating the allegations against him. The JCB is a twelve member board formed pursuant to Article 5, Section 18 of the Pennsylvania Constitution to investigate allegations of judicial misconduct. Pa. Const. Art. 5, § 18. In appropriate circumstances, the JCB may file a formal complaint with the CJD. The CJD is an eight member state administrative tribunal formed pursuant Article 5, Section 18(b) of the Pennsylvania Constitution to hear and determine charges of judicial misconduct. In January 1994, the JCB wrote Larsen and notified him that it was instituting an investigation into all of his activities as a Supreme Court Justice. On March 10, 1994, JCB filed an application with the CJD for an interim order directing the suspension of Larsen with pay, on the basis that Larsen had been charged with a felony in the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas. The JCB requested that if and when Larsen was convicted, that his suspension be automatically converted to a suspension without pay.

 On or about March 20, 1994, Larsen filed an answer with new matter to the JCB's application. On March 25, 1994, the CJD denied the JCB's application.

 On April 9, 1994, an Allegheny Court of Common Pleas jury convicted Larsen on two felony counts. On April 18, 1994, the JCB filed a second application to suspend Larsen without pay. In support of its application, the JCB averred Larsen's conviction on criminal charges in the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas. Larsen had yet to be sentenced and had appealed his convictions. On May 5, 1994, Larsen filed an answer and new matter to the JCB's application. On May 16, 1994, the JCB filed a response to new matter. The CJD conducted a hearing on the JCB's second application on May 25, 1994. Exhibits regarding Larsen's criminal information and jury verdicts were admitted into evidence. Larsen's counsel moved to bifurcate the hearing to permit him to introduce testimony at a later date. The CJD denied the motion. On June 3, 1994, the CJD granted the JCB's application for an interim order suspending Larsen without pay. Thereafter, on June 6, 1994, the JCB filed a formal complaint against Larsen with the CJD. *fn4"

 Larsen's claims against the various Defendants are too numerous to recite herein and will be discussed as necessary in the context of addressing the merits of Defendants' individual motions. Generally, Larsen alleges that in each of the proceedings which resulted in his removal from judicial office, Defendants violated his rights to due process and equal protection, and retaliated against him in violation of the First Amendment based on his statements in his petitions for the disqualification and recusal of Justices Zappala and Cappy, and his statements regarding Chief Justice Nix. Larsen seeks reinstatement, compensatory damages, monetary damages, and resumption of his medical insurance benefits.

 III. Discussion

 A. Law Governing Motions to Dismiss

 In addressing Defendants' motions, the court is required to accept as true all of the factual allegations in the amended complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from its face. Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 65 (3d Cir. 1996); see also Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 40 L. Ed. 2d 90, 94 S. Ct. 1683 (1974); White v. Napoleon, 897 F.2d 103, 106 (3d Cir. 1990). "The complaint will be deemed to have alleged sufficient facts if it adequately put[s] the defendants on notice of the essential elements of . . . plaintiff['s] cause of action." Nami, 82 F.3d at 65. The court will not dismiss the amended complaint for failure to state a claim "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim[s] which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-6, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957).

 At the outset of its discussion, the court notes that several Defendants argue that Larsen's claims against them are moot in that he seeks reinstatement to the bench, a remedy which the court cannot provide as Larsen was removed from office as part of his sentence imposed by the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas following his trial. While this is true, the court notes that Larsen has appealed his criminal conviction and sentence, challenging his removal from office. On August 5, 1996, while the current motions were pending before this court, the superior court declined to entertain Larsen's challenge on appeal to his removal from office, holding that the issue was moot due to the Senate's impeachment of him. Commonwealth v. Larsen, 682 A.2d 783, 793-94 (Pa. Super. 1996). Because the possibility remains that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania will hold differently and address the merits of Larsen's challenge to his sentence, the court does not find it appropriate to dismiss Larsen's claims at this time based on mootness. *fn5"

 The court will address Defendants' arguments in support of dismissal seriatim.

 B. Rooker-Feldman

 The Senate and individual Senate Defendants argue that the court lacks jurisdiction over Larsen's claims based on the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. Under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, district courts "lack subject matter jurisdiction to engage in appellate review of state-court determinations or to evaluate constitutional claims that are 'inextricably intertwined with the state court's [decision] in a judicial proceeding.'" Port Auth. Police Benevolent Ass'n Inc. v. Port Auth. of New York and New Jersey Police Dep't, 973 F.2d 169, 177 (3d Cir. 1992) (quoting District Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 483 n.16, 75 L. Ed. 2d 206, 103 S. Ct. 1303 (1983)); see also Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413, 68 L. Ed. 362, 44 S. Ct. 149 (1923). In addition, Rooker-Feldman deprives district courts of jurisdiction to hear appeals from interlocutory orders issued by lower state courts, Port Auth., 973 F.2d at 177-78, and from entertaining constitutional claims that a litigant could have raised in a prior state court proceeding but chose not to, Valenti v. Mitchell, 962 F.2d 288, 296 (3d Cir. 1992).

 A federal claim is inextricably intertwined with a claim raised in a prior state court proceeding if granting the requested relief would require the district court to overrule a prior state court judgment. FOCUS v. Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, 75 F.3d 834, 840 (3d Cir. 1996). Where a federal court could not grant the federal plaintiff's requested relief without reversing or modifying a previous decision of a state court, the court does not have subject matter jurisdiction to entertain the federal plaintiff's claim. Marks v. Stinson, 19 F.3d 873, 885 n.11 (3d Cir. 1994); Kirby v. City of Philadelphia, 905 F. Supp. 222, 225 (E.D. Pa. 1995).

 Prior to the commencement of the Senate impeachment proceedings, on July 26, 1994, Larsen filed suit in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court seeking a preliminary injunction enjoining the proceedings. Larsen v. Senate of Pennsylvania, 166 Pa. Commw. 472, 646 A.2d 694, 695 (Pa. Commw. 1994). The Senate Defendants argue that under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, Larsen's prior court proceeding and the commonwealth court's decision in that case deprive this court of jurisdiction over Larsen's claims in the instant case.

 In his commonwealth court action, Larsen raised several claims similar to the ones he seeks to litigate in the present action, namely that: (1) the Senate improperly delegated to the Senate committee the responsibility for conducting the impeachment trial, (2) the Senate and Senate committee violated his due process rights by failing to grant his motion for an extension of time or rule on other of his pretrial motions, and (3) the Senate and the committee violated his rights to a fair trial and effective assistance of counsel by denying his request for payment of attorney's fees. *fn6" Larsen, 646 A.2d at 697-98. The commonwealth court declined to address the propriety of the Senate's actions, concluding that the impeachment provisions of the Pennsylvania Constitution commit the impeachment power to the Senate "to an extent which clearly bars the courts from intervening with prior restraint." Id. at 705. The court stated:

 
Impeachment involves an adjudicative process, but one which has been clearly set apart by the Constitution as distinguished from adjudications by the judicial branch of government, regardless of whatever powers the courts may have to interpret actions of the legislative body, by way of review, after they have been taken. As in the case of scrutinizing the constitutionality of statutes themselves, the courts clearly have no power to intervene by injunction in advance of legislative action, any more than a court would have any power to enjoin in advance, the enactment of a law appearing (to the courts) to be constitutionally invalid.

 Id. (emphasis added). The court interprets the commonwealth court's decision as merely holding that it lacked the authority to issue a prior restraint upon the Senate and the Senate committee. Thus, granting the relief requested by Larsen in the instant action would not require the court to overrule the commonwealth court's prior decision. Indeed, many of the claims that Larsen raises in the present case arose out of the impeachment process itself which had not begun at the time the commonwealth court ruled on his motion for a preliminary injunction. It would have been impossible for Larsen to assert claims at that time based on events that had not yet occurred. Several of Larsen's constitutional claims arose out of the impeachment proceedings, could not have been raised prior to the impeachment trial, and, thus, cannot be considered inextricably intertwined with claims he did raise in the commonwealth court. Additionally, the commonwealth court recognized the possibility that upon conclusion of the impeachment proceedings, it might possess the power to hear Larsen's claims. Id. at 700, 705. The commonwealth court appeared reluctant, however, based on the political question doctrine to make an explicit holding regarding a state court's jurisdiction to hear claims at the completion of the impeachment proceedings. Id. at 702-04. Therefore, even if the commonwealth court had held that the political question doctrine prohibited it from hearing Larsen's claims at the conclusion of the impeachment proceedings, granting the relief requested in the present case would not require the court to overrule the commonwealth court's decision that it was barred from entertaining Larsen's claims. Accordingly, the court will not dismiss Larsen's claims against the Senate and individual Senate Defendants based on the Rooker-Feldman doctrine.

 C. Political Question Doctrine

 The Senate and individual Senate Defendants argue that Larsen's constitutional challenge to the manner in which they conducted his impeachment trial involves a political question and that the court should decline to exercise its jurisdiction over Larsen's claims on this basis.

 The political question doctrine applies "where there is 'a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of [an] issue to a coordinate political department; or a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it . . . .'" Nixon v. United States, 506 U.S. 224, 228, 122 L. Ed. 2d 1, 113 S. Ct. 732 (1993) (emphasis added) (quoting Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 217, 7 L. Ed. 2d 663, 82 S. Ct. 691 (1962)). The policy behind the political question doctrine derives from the need to maintain separation of powers between coequal branches of government. Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347, 351, 49 L. Ed. 2d 547, 96 S. Ct. 2673 (1976) (citing Baker, 369 U.S. at 217). "It is the relationship between the judiciary and the coordinate branches of the Federal Government, and not the federal judiciary's relationship to the States, which gives rise to the political question." Baker, 369 U.S. at 210 (internal quotations omitted). Thus, the political question doctrine does not prohibit the court from hearing Larsen's constitutional claims arising out of the Senate's actions. See Bond v. Floyd, 385 U.S. 116, 17 L. Ed. 2d 235, 87 S. Ct. 339 (1966); Gewertz v. Jackman, 467 F. Supp. 1047, 1055 (D.N.J. 1979). *fn7" The court will deny the Senate Defendants' motion to dismiss based on the application of the political question doctrine.

 D. The Eleventh Amendment

 Several Defendants assert that they are immune from suit pursuant to the Eleventh Amendment. Larsen has sued all Defendants in their official and personal capacities. (Compl. P 13.) Specifically, Larsen asks the court to grant judgment in his favor:

 
(1) against the Senate and Senators in their official capacities, granting declaratory and injunctive relief, voiding the Senate impeachment verdict of guilty of Article II;
 
(2) against the Senators in their personal capacities, awarding damages including loss of past and future wages and benefits, emotional harm, injury to reputation, and counsel fees;
 
(3) against the Supreme Court, . . . Judicial Conduct Board, and all individual members, in their official capacities, granting declaratory and injunctive relief: (i) voiding the Court of Judicial Discipline's order dated June 3, 1994, of suspension without pay; (ii) voiding the appointments to the Judicial Conduct Board and the Court of Judicial Discipline; and (iii) voiding the action of interfering with plaintiff's right to practice law;
 
(4) against the Supreme Court, Court of Judicial Discipline . . . and all members in their personal capacities, awarding damages, including loss of past and future wages and benefits, emotional harm, injury to reputation, and counsel fees;
 
(5) against the Supreme Court and individual justices and Administrative Office and individual members in their official capacities, granting declaratory and injunctive relief, voiding the action of terminating plaintiff's health and medical benefits;
 
(6) against the Supreme Court and individual justices and Administrative Office and individual members in their personal capacities. awarding damages for medical expenses incurred by plaintiff from June 4, 1994, to date; and,
 
(7) against all individual defendants in their personal capacities for punitive damages and other such relief as the court may find appropriate.

 (Compl. at 29-30.)

 "In the absence of consent a suit in which the State or one of its agencies or departments is named as the defendant is proscribed by the Eleventh Amendment." Pennhurst State School & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100, 79 L. Ed. 2d 67, 104 S. Ct. 900 (1984). This jurisdictional bar applies regardless of whether the plaintiff is seeking equitable relief or monetary damages. Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 276, 92 L. Ed. 2d 209, 106 S. Ct. 2932 (1986); Pennhurst, 465 U.S. at 100-01. Additionally, suits against state officials will be deemed suits against the state and barred by the Eleventh Amendment if "the judgment sought would expend itself on the public treasury or domain, or interfere with the public administration, or if the effect of the judgment would be to restrain the Government from acting, or to compel it to act." Pennhurst, 465 U.S. at 101 n.11 (quoting Dugan v. Rank, 372 U.S. 609, 620, 10 L. Ed. 2d 15, 83 S. Ct. 999 (1963) (internal quotations omitted)). The one well-known exception to this rule is where a suit challenges the constitutionality of a state official's conduct. Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123, 52 L. Ed. 714, 28 S. Ct. 441 (1908). The Supreme Court has narrowly applied Young's exception. Pennhurst, 465 U.S. at 102. In Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 39 L. Ed. 2d 662, 94 S. Ct. 1347 (1974), the Court held that federal courts may award prospective injunctive relief to plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of a state official's conduct. "Both prospective and retrospective relief implicate Eleventh Amendment concerns, but the availability of prospective relief of the sort awarded in Ex Parte Young, gives life to the Supremacy Clause. Remedies designed to end a continuing violation of federal law are necessary to vindicate the federal interests in assuring the supremacy of that law." Green v. Mansour, 474 U.S. 64, 68, 88 L. Ed. 2d 371, 106 S. Ct. 423 (1985).

 The Senate, the Supreme Court, and the CJD argue that Larsen's claims against them are in effect claims against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and are, therefore, barred by the Eleventh Amendment. The court agrees and will dismiss all claims asserted against the Senate, Supreme Court, and the CJD.

 Larsen appears to contest only mildly the contention that his suit against the Senate is a suit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for Eleventh Amendment purposes. Other than citing Liveright v. Joint Comm. of Tenn. Gen. Assembly, 279 F. Supp. 205, 211 (M.D. Tenn. 1968) in support of his claim that "[a] legislative body is not immune from suit for injunctive relief," Pl.'s Br. in Oppos. at 20, he does not dispute that his suit against the Senate is a suit against the Commonwealth. *fn8" Although the court in Liverlight did not address the question of whether a legislative body was immune from suit pursuant to the Eleventh Amendment, Larsen asks the court to presume it stands for such a proposition based on the district court's award of injunctive relief against the committee. The court declines to adopt such a theory.

 Moreover, Larsen misunderstands the relevant inquiry in determining whether a suit against a state agency is barred by the Eleventh Amendment. The question of whether a state agency is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity depends upon whether it is an arm of the state, not upon the type of relief sought. In making the determination of whether an entity is an arm of the state, the Third Circuit has outlined three factors for the court to consider. See Peters v. Del. River Port Auth., 16 F.3d 1346, 1350 (3d Cir. 1994), cert. denied U.S. , 115 S. Ct. 62 (1995). First, the court must assess whether if the plaintiff succeeds on his claims the judgment would be paid from the state treasury. Second, the court must examine the status of the entity pursuant to state law. Third, the court should consider the extent of autonomy enjoyed by the entity. The first factor is the most important one. Id.; see also Fitchik v. New Jersey Transit Rail Operations, Inc., 873 F.2d 655, 659 (3d Cir. 1989) (en banc).

 The court finds that the Senate is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity. It is difficult to imagine what entity would be considered an arm of the Commonwealth if the Senate were not. Application of the Peters factors seems cumbersome in the present context. The Senate is one of the governing branches of the Commonwealth. Thus, under Peters, the question the court is required to answer is, in essence, whether the Senate is independent from itself. Any judgment obtained by Larsen would be satisfied by the state treasury and the court concludes that the Senate is an arm of the Commonwealth for Eleventh Amendment immunity purposes.

 The court reaches the same conclusion with regard to the Supreme Court, and at least one other court has already so held. Mattas v. Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 576 F. Supp. 1178, 1182 (W.D. Pa. 1983). In addition, the court finds that the CJD is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity. The CJD is created pursuant to the Pennsylvania Constitution. Pa. Const. art. 5, § 18(b). Appointments to the CJD are made by the Supreme Court and the Governor. Id. art. 5, § 18(b)(1). The CJD's funding is part of the Supreme Court budget, which flows directly from the budget for the judicial branch as approved by the Pennsylvania legislature. Any judgment obtained against the CJD would be paid out of state funds. Accordingly, the court will dismiss Larsen's claims against the Supreme Court and the CJD because it finds they are immune from suit pursuant to the Eleventh Amendment. *fn9"

 The individual members of the Senate, Supreme Court, the CJD, the JCB and Defendants Frankforter and Sobolevitch also argue that they are entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity. *fn10" Larsen has sued these Defendants in both their official and personal capacities. The Eleventh Amendment does not insulate Defendants from Larsen's claims against them in their personal capacities. Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 87 L. Ed. 2d 114, 105 S. Ct. 3099 (1985); Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 40 L. Ed. 2d 90, 94 S. Ct. 1683 (1974). This is also true for Larsen's claims for punitive damages against Defendants as well. Smith v. Wade, 461 U.S. 30, 75 L. Ed. 2d 632, 103 S. Ct. 1625 (1983). *fn11"

 When a plaintiff sues a state official alleging a violation of federal law, the federal court may award an injunction that governs the official's future conduct, but not one that awards retroactive monetary relief." Pennhurst, 465 U.S. at 102-03 (citing Edelman, 415 U.S. at 666-67). Larsen asks the court to "void" the Senate Defendants' impeachment verdict of guilty, the Supreme Court Defendants' appointments to the JCB, the CJD Defendants' interim order suspending him without pay, and enjoin Defendants Sobolevitch and Frankfurter's from failing to reinstate his lifetime medical insurance benefits. *fn12" (Compl. at 29 PP (1) (3), (5).) In determining whether Larsen's claims are barred by the Eleventh Amendment, the court must determine whether his claims against the individual members in their official capacities are retrospective or prospective in nature. The court finds that they are.

 Larsen's request that the court void the Senate members' impeachment verdict of guilty is, in essence, a request for prospective reinstatement or a direction to the members that they rescind their guilty verdict. Thus, the relief Larsen seeks against the individual Senate Defendants in their official capacities is not prohibited by the Eleventh Amendment. See Warnock v. Pecos County, Tex., 88 F.3d 341, 343 (5th Cir. 1996) (claims for prospective reinstatement not barred by Eleventh Amendment); Cross v. State of Ala., 49 F.3d 1490, 1503 (11th Cir. 1995) (district court properly enjoined state officials from failing to reinstate state employees); Russell v. Dunston, 896 F.2d 664, 668 (2d Cir. 1990) (existence of past harm does not render prospective injunction retrospective relief barred by Eleventh Amendment); see also Berman Enterprises, Inc. v. Jorling, 3 F.3d 602, 606-07 (2d Cir. 1993) (claim for declaratory relief seeking to vacate state officials' administrative orders not barred by Eleventh Amendment); Nix v. Norman, 879 F.2d 429, 433 (8th Cir. 1989) (Eleventh Amendment did not bar request for injunctive relief that state officials remove false allegations from employment record); Darlak v. Bobear, 814 F.2d 1055, 1061 (5th Cir. 1987) (request for injunctive relief requiring state officials to rescind suspension not prohibited pursuant to Eleventh Amendment). The court also finds that the Eleventh Amendment does not bar Larsen's claims for declaratory and injunctive relief against the individual members of the Supreme Court, the JCB, the CJD and Defendants Frankfurter and Sobolevitch in their official capacities. These claims include Larsen's requests that the court: (1) vacate the Supreme Court Defendants' appointments to the JCB and CJD; (2) vacate the CJD Defendants' order suspending him without pay; (3) enter a declaratory judgment as to the JCB and CJD Defendants' authority to act with regard to his right to practice law; and (4) enjoin Defendants Sobolevitch and Frankfurter from failing to reinstate his lifetime medical insurance benefits. Accordingly, the court will deny the individual Senate Defendants', the Supreme Court Defendants', the CJD Defendants' and JCB Defendants', and Defendants Frankforter's and Sobolevitch's motions to dismiss Larsen's claims for declaratory and injunctive relief against them in their official capacities.

 E. Legislative Immunity

 The Senate Defendants assert that they are absolutely immune from suit in their personal capacities based on the doctrine of absolute legislative immunity. Legislators are entitled to absolute immunity for actions taken in their legislative capacity. Lake Country Estates, Inc. v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 440 U.S. 391, 406, 59 L. Ed. 2d 401, 99 S. Ct. 1171 (1979); Tenney v. Brandhove, 341 U.S. 367, 95 L. Ed. 1019, 71 S. Ct. 783 (1951) Larsen argues that the Senate Defendants are not entitled to absolute legislative immunity because the Senate impeachment proceeding did not constitute a legislative act.

 The purpose of affording legislators absolute immunity is so that they "are immune from deterrents to the uninhibited discharge of their legislative duty, not for their private indulgence but for the public good." Tenney, 341 U.S. at 377. Thus, the Supreme Court has held that legislators are immune from suits against them in their personal capacities if they "were acting within the legitimate sphere of their legislative activity." Id. at 376. While it is true that a conviction of impeachment may not involve "policy-making," Acierno v. Cloutier, 40 F.3d 597, 610 (3d Cir. 1994), conducting impeachment trials is one of the responsibilities charged to the ...


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