Chisholm v. Georgia

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The decision of Chisholm v. Georgia in 1793, was an important case, although its ruling became moot within a few years. The four-to-one decision, eloquently stated in the opinion rendered by James Wilson, was in favor of two South Carolinians who had sued the state of Georgia to recover confiscated property. Georgia claimed that the U.S. Supreme Court did not have jurisdiction and did not appear, despite Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which explicitly gave to the Supreme Court jurisdiction over disputes between a state and citizens of another state.

Writing in dissent, Justice Iredell argued that no constitutional sanction can supersede the right under common law for a sovereignty to be sued except with its consent. The Eleventh Amendment, ratified in 1795 largely in response to Chisholm, made it impossible for individuals to sue states, so the Chisholm decision had only a very short-term effect.

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