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Constitution Monday: Suing States

Starting this week, I’ll be mentioning when Constitutional Amendments were passed and what parts of the Constitution it modified:

Here is the 11th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:


Passed by Congress March 4, 1794. Ratified February 7, 1795.

Note: Article III, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by amendment 11.

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.

I have to confess I’m not confident what this Amendment does. I *think* it keeps the federal judiciary from interfering with people suing a state, but that doesn’t sound right. Any ideas?

2 Responses

  1. It basically means that states cannot be sued in their respective state courts without consent of the states.

    There are exceptions of course. States can be ordered {enjoined} to be sued in their own courts by federal court order or though Congress. Also, any state can be sued in federal court for breach of federal law.

    See the wikipedia entry here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleventh_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

  2. That makes sense to me. Thanks for stopping by.

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