February 7: The 11th Amendment
The 11th Amendment, ratified in 1795, affirmed states’ sovereign immunity and protected them from certain suits brought by citizens of other states or nations. The first Amendment to be passed after the Bill of Rights, it declares, “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.” In the 1793 case Chisholm v. Georgia, the Supreme Court had ruled that federal courts could hear such cases between private citizens and states. This Court decision surprised the States and met hostile reactions around the country. Only three years later, the U.S. ratified the 11th Amendment to overturn the Chisholm v. Georgia decision.