Chisholm to Alden: James Wilson's Artificial Person in American Supreme Court History, 1793-1999
378 pages, year of publication: 2006
price: 40.50 €
Most simply said, this dissertation is about whether the citizen of one state of the United States may sue another state of the United States despite the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads: 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. Though this provision addresses the broader issue of states' sovereignty, the principle objective of this work, Chisholm to Alden: James Wilson's "Artificial Person" in American Constitutional History, 1793-1999, is on the suability of the states. To appropriately appraise this subject, I investigate what the original intent of those who wrote the Constitution was and what various Courts in the history of US jurisprudence consider that intent or meaning to have been, ending with the textualist-originalist Justices of the 1990s, many of whom remain on the bench today.
This is a discombobulating task, for there were so many differing opinions at the Federal Convention as to what the text meant, that there cannot be just one. Therefore, taking a look at some of the major cases that address states' suability in US Supreme Court history, I focus on the more specific question of what could have reasonably been meant by the Founders on states' suability. The point of departure for this venture is Chisholm v. Georgia (1793), since it was the impetus for the Eleventh Amendment, with a special focus on James Wilson's opinion in the case. From there, selected cases from the Marshall Court through to the 1999 case of Alden v. Maine are carefully discussed as a means of discovering whether or not the states were ever actually suable and which cases may have led more modern Courts astray.