Effect of Declaratory Judgment Act and Administrative Procedure Act
The Congress has enacted a partial waiver of the sovereign
immunity defense as to judicial review under the Administrative
Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 701, et seq. By Pub.L. No. 94-574,
October 21, 1976, 90 Stat. 2721, 5 U.S.C. § 702 was amended to
provide that an ("action in a court of the United States seeking
other than money damages and stating a claim that an agency or an
officer or employee thereof acted or failed to act in an official
capacity or under color of legal authority shall not be dismissed
relief therein be denied on the ground that it is against the
States or that the United States is an indispensable party.") In
addition, 5 U.S.C. § 703 has been amended to allow suit to be
brought against the United States or any of its agencies or
The sovereign immunity defense has been withdrawn only with
to actions seeking specific relief other than money damages, such
injunction, a declaratory judgment, or a writ of mandamus. Bowen v.
Massachusetts, 487 U.S. 879 (1988). Specific statutory provisions
the recovery of money damages, such as the Little Tucker Act and
Federal Tort Claims Act, are unaffected. See H.Rep. 94-1656, p. 13,
U.S.Code Cong. & Ad.News 6133.
Another barrier to judicial review of administrative action was
removed by section 2 of Pub.L. No. 94-574, which amended 28 U.S.C.
1331(a) so as to eliminate the $10,000 amount-in-controversy
in actions against the United States, any agency thereof, or any
or employee thereof in his official capacity. This provision
the Supreme Court to conclude that, subject to preclusion-of-review
statutes, jurisdiction to review agency action is conferred by 28
§ 1331, and that the Administrative Procedure Act is not an
independent grant of jurisdiction. See Califano v. Sanders, 430
Similarly, the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201,
not an independent source of federal jurisdiction. The purpose of
Act is merely to provide an additional remedy, once jurisdiction is
found to exist on another ground. See Benson v. State Bd. of Parole
Probation, 384 F.2d 238, 239 (9th Cir. 1967), cert. denied, 391
(1968); Schilling v. Rogers, 363 U.S. 666, 677 (1960). Therefore,
jurisdiction to review a particular agency action under 28 U.S.C.
1331 has been precluded by another statute, the Declaratory
does not provide an independent basis for granting relief.
[cited in USAM 4-2.140]