State Sovereign Immunity: A Reference Guide to the United States Constitution

State Sovereign Immunity: A Reference Guide to the United States Constitution

State Sovereign Immunity: A Reference Guide to the United States Constitution

State Sovereign Immunity: A Reference Guide to the United States Constitution

Synopsis

This is the most thorough and up-to-date treatment of the Eleventh Amendment's guarantee of state sovereign immunity. Beginning with an extensive history of the Amendment and its ratification, Durchslag then provides a chronological discussion of the development of its jurisprudence from 1793-1890. The developments of various doctrinal components are then traced topically, along with suggestions as to how they may evolve. The work concludes with an erudite bibliographic essay to guide the reader to relevant primary and secondary works; it is fully indexed.

Excerpt

Jack Stark

One can conceive of the United States Constitution in many ways. For example, noting the reverence in which it has been held one can think of it as equivalent to a sacred text. Unfortunately, most of its devotees have had less knowledge and even less understanding of the document than they have had reverence for it. Sometimes it is treated as primarily a political document and on that basis has been subjected to analysis, such as Charles Beard’s An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. One can plausibly argue that the Constitution seems most astounding when seen in light of the intellectual effort that has been associated with it. Three brief but highly intense bursts of intellectual energy produced, and established as organic law, most of the Constitution as it now exists. Two of those efforts, sustained over a long period of time, have enabled us to better understand the document.

The first burst of energy occurred at the Constitutional Convention. Although some of the delegates’ business, such as the struggle between populous and non-populous states about their representation in Congress, was political, much of it was about fundamental issues of political theory. a few of the delegates had or later achieved international eminence for their intellects. Among them are Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison. Others, although less well known, had first-rate minds. That group includes George Mason and George Wythe. Many of the delegates contributed intelligently. Although the Convention’s records are less than satisfactory, they indicate clearly enough that the delegates worked mightily to constitute not merely a polity—but a rational polity that would rise to the standards envisioned by the delegates’ intellectual ancestors. Their product, though brief, is amazing. William Gladstone called it “the most wonderful work ever struck off.”

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