The Judicial Power of the United States: The Eleventh Amendment in American History

The Judicial Power of the United States: The Eleventh Amendment in American History

by John V. Orth
     
 

Although less than fifty words long, the meaning of the seemingly simple Eleventh Amendment has troubled the Supreme Court at crucial points in American history and continues to spur sharp debate in present-day courts. The first amendment adopted after the Bill of Rights, the Eleventh Amendment limits the exercise of U.S. judicial power when American states are

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Overview

Although less than fifty words long, the meaning of the seemingly simple Eleventh Amendment has troubled the Supreme Court at crucial points in American history and continues to spur sharp debate in present-day courts. The first amendment adopted after the Bill of Rights, the Eleventh Amendment limits the exercise of U.S. judicial power when American states are sued. Its modern meaning was largely shaped around cases concerning the liability of Southern states to pay their debts during and after Reconstruction; by shielding states from liability, the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Eleventh Amendment eased the establishment of post-Reconstruction Southern society and left a maddeningly complicated law of federal jurisdiction. Here, Orth reconstructs the fascinating but obscure history of the Eleventh Amendment—the labyrinth of legal doctrine, the economic motives and consequences, the political context, and the legacy of the past—over the last two centuries. Using quotes from Wordsworth, Shaw, Mark Twain, Margaret Mitchell, and other writers to clarify and invigorate his narrative, Orth finally makes accessible an important but complex slice of constitutional history.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Very readable...Presents an interesting exploration of the limits of sovereign immunity in a nation under the rule of law, and in so doing it offers an intriguing slice of legal history. With its excellent bibliographic essays, this book is a valuable addition to American studies."—Journal of American History

"A serious study and a worthy contribution to legal history."—Aviam Soifer, Boston University Law School

"Orth has contributed a strikingly new and important revelation about the Compromise of 1877, the end of Reconstruction, and the economic as well as judicial consequences of Reunion."—C. Vann Woodward, Yale University

"[A] lively and fascinating history of the Eleventh Amendment."—Stanley N. Katz, Princeton University

"Illuminating...with Professor Orth's expert guidance, the Eleventh Amendment is revealed as an integral part of our political and social history, and as a dramatic illustration of the nature and limits of judicial power."—David L. Shapiro, Harvard Law School

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195040999
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
01/28/1987
Pages:
244
Product dimensions:
5.81(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.92(d)

Meet the Author

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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