The Jan 14. editorial "The Court and Federalism" on states' sovereign immunity is right in stating that the notion "that state governments can't be sued for damages does not actually appear in the Constitution." In fact, the 11th Amendment clearly reads that a person can sue the state in which he or she lives but cannot sue another state. Kimel v. Florida Board of Regents and other recent rulings contradict the language of the amendment.

Those who fear oppression by the federal government remain silent about oppression by state government. Witness the recent ruling allowing Florida to infringe on patents. These 11th Amendment rulings are stripping citizens of the right to redress of wrongdoing by state government.

I disagree with The Post's assertion that the "real-world repercussions of Kimel will probably be muted," because Kimel extends this frightening interpretation of sovereign immunity to federal anti-discrimination laws. These laws were passed because the states could not or would not act to protect the rights of various minority groups. There is no reason to believe that the states would do any better now than they did before. These limitations on congressional power are allowing states to deprive citizens of their equal-protection rights.

CLIFFORD PAYNE

Pittsburgh