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50 Federal Communications Law Journal 399 (1998)


The Telecommunications Act of 1996 explicitly created a role for federal courts in the interconnection process. However, parties' ability to seek federal review of interconnection agreements is no longer as straightforward as the language of the Act implies. The Supreme Court's unnecessarily novel and narrow reading of Eleventh Amendment immunity in Seminole Tribe v. Florida renders unenforceable the federal review provisions of the Act against state regulatory commissions. While some interconnection agreements may find their way into federal court, for example, where a party seeking to interconnect sues an incumbent provider instead of the state commission, enforcement of a federal order on a state commission will continue to pose costly problems. A more suitable approach, in line with previous immunity jurisprudence, would preserve federal court jurisdiction with appropriate deference to state action.