Monday, November 29, 2010

11th Amendment Article

"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."
-11th Amendment of the United States Constitution

The eleventh amendment protects a state from lawsuits filed by citizens of other states or countries.  For Example someone who is a citizen of Missouri can't sue Virginia. As I mentioned above in layman's terms, the eleventh amendment limits the power of federal courts to hear lawsuits against state governments brought by the citizens of another state or the citizens of a foreign country. The Supreme Court has also interpreted the Eleventh Amendment to bar federal courts from hearing lawsuits instituted by citizens of the state being sued and lawsuits initiated by the governments of foreign countries. For example, the state of New York could call the eleventh Amendment to protect itself from being sued in federal court by its own residents, residents of another state, residents of a foreign country, or the government of a foreign country. I feel as though this is an important yet confusing amendment. What if I had a dispute within a certain state? How would the problem be taken care of? I have some unanswered questions about the amendment that I plan to find the answers to through doing this blog and from learning about it in class. So for my media I plan to find sources that further explain the eleventh Amendment and its importance.

Below is an abstract of an article that argues that the eleventh amendment makes sense, the actual paper is 103 papers long. After reading the abstract and summary, I had a better understanding of the importance of this amendment, especially at the time it was made. This is the first article I have used to support the amendment I was talking about, hopefully it is a good switch up.

The Eleventh Amendment and the Nature of the Union
Bradford R. Clark
George Washington University Law School
"Leading theories of the Eleventh Amendment start from the premise that its text makes no sense. These theories regard the Amendment as either under-inclusive, over-inclusive, or an incoherent compromise because it prohibits federal courts from hearing “any suit” against a state by out-of-state citizens, but does not prohibit suits against a state by its own citizens. Two of these theories would either expand or contract the immunity conferred by the text of the Amendment in order to avoid this absurd or anomalous result. This Article suggests that the Eleventh Amendment made sense as written when understood in its full historical context. In particular, the Articles of Confederation empowered Congress to require states to supply men, money, and supplies, but gave Congress no power to enforce its own commands. Prominent Founders initially argued that the only way to fix the Articles was to give Congress coercive power over states. But the Convention, and the ratifiers, ultimately rejected this idea because they feared that the introduction of such power would lead to a civil war. To avoid this danger, the Founders designed the Constitution to give Congress legislative power over individuals rather than states. This novel approach eliminated the need for coercive power over states, and provided Federalists with a key argument for adopting the Constitution rather than amending the Articles. Anti-federalists threatened to undermine this case for the Constitution by arguing that the state-citizen diversity provisions of Article III — authorizing suits “between” states and out-of-state citizens — could be construed to permit suits against states (and thus imply federal power to enforce any resulting judgments against states). Although Federalists denied this construction, the Supreme Court proceeded to read Article III to permit out-of-state citizens to sue states. Federalists and Anti-federalists quickly joined forces to restore their preferred construction of Article III. In adopting the Eleventh Amendment, they saw no anomaly in prohibiting “any suit” against a state by out-of-state citizens because they did not understand the Constitution to authorize any suits against states by in-state citizens. Federal question jurisdiction did not expressly authorize such suits, and the Founders likely would not have perceived any real need for such jurisdiction given their understanding that the Constitution conferred neither legislative nor coercive power over states. Because the Eleventh Amendment, as written, made sense in light of the nature of the Union, the absurdity doctrine cannot justify departing from the terms of the Amendment."

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