Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Eleventh Amendment

Okay, now we get down to looking at things we the people or more accurately our politicians thought important after we decided to become the United States and the constitution was ratified.
The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.
Proposed in March 1794 to took less than a year for a sufficient number of states to ratify before it took effect in February 1795.
Background – In 1792, Mr. Alexander Chisholm, serving as an executor for the estate of Robert Farquhar of Georgia, sued the state to get money he felt was owed Mr. Farquhar for goods and services provided to Georgia during the Revolution.  The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case and the US Attorney General argued for the plaintiff, Mr. Chisholm.  Georgia disagreed with the idea they could be sued without their permission, and that the court had jurisdiction in this matter.  As a result, they never showed up to the trial.  The Court found on behalf of the plaintiff (Chisholm v Georgia, 2 US 419, 1793).
Obviously, the representatives from Georgia and several other states were alarmed at the potential for the Courts overreach of what they viewed as a “states right” (or sovereignty) issue.  It took them less than a year to craft the amendment and get it ratified. 
It was tested in court about 4 years later and upheld.

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