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Eleventh Amendment of the Constitution
Ratified 1795


One of two constitutional amendments explicitly passed to override a Supreme Court decision (the other was the Sixteenth, which established the federal income tax), the Eleventh Amendment shields states from lawsuits by citizens of other states and by citizens of foreign countries. The amendment was passed in direct reaction to the Court's 1793 decision in Chisholm v. Georgia, in which the Court upheld the right of a citizen of one state to sue another state in federal court. Opponents of the decision feared that it would allow for potentially ruinous suits regarding the payment of Revolutionary War debts.


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.

Eleventh Amendment of the Constitution