The Supreme Court says Virginia's advocate for the mentally ill can sue to force state officials to provide records relating to deaths and injuries at state mental health facilities.
The justices, in a 6-2 ruling Tuesday, reinstated the Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy lawsuit against Virginia's mental health commissioner and two other officials.
The federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., had dismissed the state advocate's lawsuit. The issue for the court was whether the Eleventh Amendment prohibits a state agency from going to federal court to sue officials of the same state.
Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the court's opinion, says the lawsuit should have been permitted. Justice Elena Kagan did not take part in the case.
The case is VOPA v. Stewart, 09-529.