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Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution

Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution

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The Eleventh Amendment (Amendment XI) to the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

, which was passed by the Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 on March 4, 1794, and was ratified on February 7, 1795, deals with each state's
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 sovereign immunity
Sovereign immunity
Sovereign immunity, or crown immunity, is a legal doctrine by which the sovereign or state cannot commit a legal wrong and is immune from civil suit or criminal prosecution....

. This amendment was adopted in order to overrule the U.S. Supreme Court's
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 decision in Chisholm v. Georgia
Chisholm v. Georgia
Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 U.S. 419 , is considered the first United States Supreme Court case of significance and impact. Given its date, there is little available legal precedent...

, .

Text



Summary



The Eleventh Amendment, the first time the Constitution was amended after the adoption of the Bill of Rights
United States Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These limitations serve to protect the natural rights of liberty and property. They guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and...

, was adopted following the Supreme Court's ruling in Chisholm v. Georgia
Chisholm v. Georgia
Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 U.S. 419 , is considered the first United States Supreme Court case of significance and impact. Given its date, there is little available legal precedent...

, . In Chisholm, the Court ruled that federal courts had the authority to hear cases in law and equity brought by private citizens against states and that states did not enjoy sovereign immunity
Sovereign immunity
Sovereign immunity, or crown immunity, is a legal doctrine by which the sovereign or state cannot commit a legal wrong and is immune from civil suit or criminal prosecution....

 from suits made by citizens of other states. Thus, the amendment clarified Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution, which gave diversity jurisdiction
Diversity jurisdiction
In the law of the United States, diversity jurisdiction is a form of subject-matter jurisdiction in civil procedure in which a United States district court has the power to hear a civil case where the persons that are parties are "diverse" in citizenship, which generally indicates that they are...

 to the judiciary to hear cases "between a state and citizens of another state."

The amendment's text does not mention suits brought against a state by its own citizens. However, in Hans v. Louisiana
Hans v. Louisiana
Hans v. Louisiana, , was a decision of the United States Supreme Court determining that the Eleventh Amendment prohibits the citizen of a U.S. state to sue that state in a federal court.-Facts:The plaintiff, Hans, was a citizen of the state of Louisiana...

,
, the Supreme Court ruled that the amendment reflects a broader principle of sovereign immunity. As Justice
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States are the members of the Supreme Court of the United States other than the Chief Justice of the United States...

 Anthony Kennedy
Anthony Kennedy
Anthony McLeod Kennedy is an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, having been appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Since the retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor, Kennedy has often been the swing vote on many of the Court's politically charged 5–4 decisions...

, writing for a five Justice majority, stated in Alden v. Maine
Alden v. Maine
Alden v. Maine, 527 U.S. 706 was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States about whether the United States Congress may use its Article One powers to abrogate a state's sovereign immunity from suits in its own courts, thereby allowing citizens to sue a state without the state's...

, :

Writing for a four-Justice dissent in Alden, Justice David Souter
David Souter
David Hackett Souter is a former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He served from 1990 until his retirement on June 29, 2009. Appointed by President George H. W. Bush to fill the seat vacated by William J...

 said the states surrendered their sovereign immunity when they ratified the Constitution. The dissenting justices read the amendment's text as reflecting a narrow form of sovereign immunity that limited only the diversity jurisdiction of the federal courts. They concluded that the states are not insulated from suits by individuals by either the Eleventh Amendment in particular or the Constitution in general.

Although the Eleventh Amendment immunizes states from suit for money damages or equitable relief without their consent, in Ex parte Young
Ex parte Young
Ex parte Young, , is a United States Supreme Court case that allows suits in federal courts against officials acting on behalf of states of the union to proceed despite the State's Sovereign immunity, when the State acted unconstitutionally.-Facts:...

, , the Supreme Court ruled that federal courts may enjoin
Injunction
An injunction is an equitable remedy in the form of a court order that requires a party to do or refrain from doing certain acts. A party that fails to comply with an injunction faces criminal or civil penalties and may have to pay damages or accept sanctions...

 state officials from violating federal law. In Fitzpatrick v. Bitzer
Fitzpatrick v. Bitzer
Fitzpatrick v. Bitzer, 427 U.S. 445 , was a United States Supreme Court decision that determined that the U.S. Congress has the power to abrogate the Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity of the states, if this is done pursuant to its Fourteenth Amendment power to enforce upon the states the...

, , the Supreme Court ruled that Congress may abrogate
Abrogation doctrine
The Abrogation doctrine is a constitutional law doctrine expounding when and how the Congress may waive a state's sovereign immunity and subject it to lawsuits to which the state has not consented ....

 state immunity from suit under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment. In Central Virginia Community College v. Katz
Central Virginia Community College v. Katz
Central Virginia Community College v. Katz, 546 U.S. 356 , is a United States Supreme Court case holding that the Bankruptcy Clause of the Constitution abrogates state sovereign immunity...

, , the Court ruled the Congress could do the same regarding bankruptcy
Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is a legal status of an insolvent person or an organisation, that is, one that cannot repay the debts owed to creditors. In most jurisdictions bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor....

 cases by way of Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 of the Constitution. Also, in Lapides v. Board of Regents of Univ. System of Ga.
Lapides v. Board of Regents of Univ. System of Ga.
Lapides v. Board of Regents of University System of Georgia, , is a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States which ruled that a state voluntarily waives its Eleventh Amendment immunity when it invokes a federal court's removal jurisdiction...

, , the Supreme Court ruled that a state voluntarily waives
Waiver
A waiver is the voluntary relinquishment or surrender of some known right or privilege.While a waiver is often in writing, sometimes a person's actions can act as a waiver. An example of a written waiver is a disclaimer, which becomes a waiver when accepted...

 the Eleventh Amendment when it invokes a federal court's
United States federal courts
The United States federal courts make up the judiciary branch of federal government of the United States organized under the United States Constitution and laws of the federal government.-Categories:...

 removal jurisdiction
Removal jurisdiction
In the United States, removal jurisdiction refers to the right of a defendant to move a lawsuit filed in state court to the federal district court for the federal judicial district in which the state court sits. This is a general exception to the usual American rule giving the plaintiff the right...

.

The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts:* District of Maine* District of Massachusetts...

 has ruled that Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

enjoys Eleventh Amendment immunity.

Proposal and ratification


The Eleventh Amendment was proposed by the Congress on March 4, 1794, and was ratified by the following states:
  1. New York (March 27, 1794)
  2. Rhode Island (March 31, 1794)
  3. Connecticut (May 8, 1794)
  4. New Hampshire (June 16, 1794)
  5. Massachusetts (June 26, 1794)
  6. Vermont (November 9, 1794)
  7. Virginia (November 18, 1794)
  8. Georgia (November 29, 1794)
  9. Kentucky (December 7, 1794)
  10. Maryland (December 26, 1794)
  11. Delaware (January 23, 1795)
  12. North Carolina (February 7, 1795)

Ratification was completed on February 7, 1795.

The amendment was subsequently ratified by the following state:
  1. South Carolina (December 4, 1797).


The following states did not ratify the amendment:
  1. New Jersey
  2. Pennsylvania

External links