Dall. 419, 1 L.Ed. 440 ( 1793)
The SALEM GAZETTE of March 6, 1793 states the facts of the case as follows: "A citizen of Georgia had left America prior to the Revolution and removed to Great Britain, after settling a partnership account with two partners in trade whose bonds he took for the balance due. After his decease, his executors (who were citizens of South Carolina) on mailing application for payment found that these two persons who had given their joint bonds had been inimical to the cause of liberty in the United States and that their property was confiscated. The executors, alleging that the bonds were given previous to the Revolution, applied to the State of Georgia for relief." Quoted in Warren, THE SUPREME COURT IN UNITED STATES HISTORY, VOl. 1, p. 93.
WILSON, JUSTICE: -- This is a case of uncommon magnitude. One of the parties to it is a state; certainly respectable, claiming to be sovereign. The question to be determined is whether this state, so respectable, and whose claim soars so high, is amenable to the jurisdiction of the supreme court of the United States? This question, important in itself, will depend on others, more important still; and, may, perhaps, be ultimately resolved into one, no less radical than this -- "do the people of the United States form a nation?" . . .
To the Constitution of the United States the term sovereign, is totally unknown. There is but one place where it could have been used with propriety. But, even in that place it would not, perhaps, have comported with the delicacy of those, who ordained and established that constitution. They might have announced themselves "sovereign" people of the United States: But serenely conscious of the fact, they avoided the ostentatious declaration. . . .
In one sense, the term sovereign has for its correlative, subject. In this sense, the term can receive no application; for it has no object in the Constitution of the United States. Under that constitution there are citizens, but no subjects. "Citizens of the United States." "Citizens of another state." "Citizens of different states." "A state or citizen thereof." The term, subject, occurs indeed, once in the instrument; but to mark the contrast strongly, the epithet "foreign" is prefixed. In this sense, I presume the state of Georgia has no claim upon her own citizens: In this sense, I am certain, she can have no claim upon the citizens of another state. . . .
As a judge of this court, I know, and can decide upon the knowledge, that the citizens of Georgia, when they acted upon the large scale of the union, as a part of the "People of the United States," did not surrender the supreme or sovereign power to that state; but, as to the purposes of the union, retained it to themselves. As to the purposes of the union, therefore, Georgia is not a sovereign state. . . .
Under this view, the question is naturally subdivided into two others. 1.