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other, on the character of the parties, whatever may be the subject of controversy. Cohens v. Virginia, 6 Wheat. 264, 378, 393. The present suit falls in each class, for it is, plainly, one arising under the Constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States, and, also, one in which the United States is a party. It is, therefore, one to which, by the express words of the Constitution, the judicial power of the United States extends.
We cannot assume that the framers of the Constitution, while extending the judicial power of the United States to controversies between two or more States of the Union, and between a State of the Union and foreign States, intended to exempt a State altogether from suit by the general government. They could not have overlooked the possibility that controversies, capable of judicial solution, might arise between the United States and some of the States, and that the permanence of the Union might be endangered if to some tribunal was not instrusted the power to determine them according to the recognized principles of law. And to what tribunal could a trust so momentous be more appropriately committed than to that which the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice and insure domestic tranquillity, have constituted with authority to speak for all the people and all the States, upon questions before it to which the judicial power of the nation extends? It would be difficult to suggest any reason why this court should have jurisdiction to determine questions of boundary between two or more States, but not jurisdiction of controversies of like character between the United States and a State.
The question as to the suability of one government by another government rests wholly upon different grounds. Texas is not called to the bar of this court at the suit of an individual, but at the suit of the government established for the common and equal benefit of the people of all the States. The submission to judicial solution of controversies arising between these two governments, "each sovereign, with respect to the objects committed to it, and neither sovereign with respect to the objects committed to the other," McCulloch v. State of Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, 400, 410, but both subject to the supreme law of the land, does no violence to the inherent nature of sovereignty. The States of the Union have agreed, in the Constitution, that the judicial power of the United States shall extend to all cases arising under the Constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States, without regard to the character of the parties (excluding, of course, suits against a State by its own citizens or by citizens of other States, or by citizens or subjects of foreign States), and equally to controversies to which the United States shall be a party, without regard to the subject of such controversies, and that this court may exercise original jurisdiction in all such cases, "in which a State shall be a party," without excluding those in which the United States may be the opposite party. The exercise, therefore, by this court, of such original jurisdiction in a
suit brought by one State against another to determine the boundary line between them, or in a suit brought by the United States against a State to determine the boundary between a Territory of the United States and that State, so far from infringing, in either case, upon the sovereignty, is with the consent of the State sued. Such consent was given by Texas when admitted into the Union upon an equal footing in all respects with the other States.
(The court overruled the objection that a State could not be sued by the Federal Government.)
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE FULLER, with whom concurred MR. JUSTICE LAMAR, dissenting.
Mr. Justice Lamar and myself are unable to concur in the decision just announced.
This court has original jurisdiction of two classes of cases only, those affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a State shall be a party.
The judicial power extends to "controversies between two or more States;" "between a State and citizens of another State,” and “between a State or the citizens thereof, and foreign States, citizens or subjects.” Our original jurisdiction, which depends solely upon the character of the parties, is confined to the cases enumerated, in which a State may be a party, and this is not one of them.
The judicial power also extends to controversies to which the United States shall be a party, but such controversies are not included in the grant of original jurisdiction. To the controversy here the United States is a party.
We are of opinion, therefore, that this case is not within the original jurisdiction of the court.
SUITS AGAINST A STATE BY ONE OF ITS OWN CITIZENS.
HANS v. LOUISIANA.
134 U. S., 1. 1890.
This suit was brought in the Circuit Court of the United States in Louisiana by Bernard Hans, a citizen of Louisiana, against the State of Louisiana to recover the amount of certain coupons, annexed to bonds issued by the State. The plaintiff Hans contended that he, being a citizen of Louisiana, could maintain suit against the State, as the 11th Amendment of the Constitution prohibited only suits against a State which were brought by citizens of another State, or by citizens or subjects of a foreign State. Hans asserted that it was a violation of the Constitution for a State “to impair the obligation of its own contract by refusing to pay its bonds." The State appeared and excepted to the suit on the ground that a State could not be sued without its permission, and asked that the case be dismissed.
MR. JUSTICE BRADLEY delivered the opinion of the court.
The question is presented, whether a State can be sued in a Circuit Court of the United States by one of its own citizens upon a suggestion that the case is one that arises under the Constitution or laws of the United States.
The ground taken is, that under the Constitution, as well as under the act of Congress passed to carry it into effect, a case is within the jurisdiction of the Federal courts, without regard to the character of the parties, if it arises under the Constitution or laws of the United States, or which is the same thing, if it necessarily involves a question under said Constitution or laws. The language relied on is that clause of the 3d article of the Constitution which declares that "the judicial power of the United States shall extend to all cases in law and equity arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority;" and the corresponding clause of the act conferring jurisdiction upon the Circuit Court, which, as found in the act of March 3, 1875, is as follows, to wit: “That the Circuit Courts of the United States shall have original cognizance, concurrent with the courts of the several States, of all suits of a civil nature at common law or in equity, .... arising under the Constitution or laws of the United States, or treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority.” It is said that these jurisdictional clauses make no exception arising from the character of the parties, and, therefore, that a State can claim no exemption from suit, if the case is really one arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. It is conceded that where the jurisdiction depends alone upon the character of the parties, a controversy between a State and its own citizens is not embraced within it; but it is contended that though jurisdiction does not exist on the ground, it nevertheless does exist if the case itself is one which necessarily involves a Federal question; and with regard to ordinary parties this is undoubtedly true. The question now to be decided is, whether it is true where one of the parties is a State, and is sued as a defendant by one of its own citizens.
That a State cannot be sued by a citizen of another State, or of a foreign State, on the mere ground that the case is one arising under the Constitution or laws of the United States, is clearly established by the decisions of this court in several recent cases. Louisiana v. Jumel, 107 U. S. 711. This was a case arising under the Constitution of the United States, upon laws complained of as impairing the obligation of contracts, one of which was the constitutional amendment of Louisiana complained of in the present case. Relief was sought against State officers who professed to act in obedience to those laws. This court held that the suits were virtually against the States themselves and were consequently violative of the Eleventh Amendment of the Constitution and could not be maintained. It was not denied that they presented cases arising under the Constitution; but, notwithstanding that, they were held to be prohibited by the amendment referred to.
In the present case the plaintiff in error contends that he, being a citizen of Louisiana, is not embarrassed by the obstacles of the Eleventh Amendment, inasmuch as that amendment only prohibits suits against a State which are brought by the citizens of another State, or by citizens or subjects of a foreign State. It is true, the amendment does so read; and if there were no other reason or ground for abating his suit, it might be maintainable; and then we should have this anomalous result, that in cases arising under the Constitution or laws of the United States, a State may be sued in the Federal courts by its own citizens, though it cannot be sued for a like cause of action by the citizens of other States or of a foreign State; and may be thus sued in the Federal courts, although not allowing itself to be sued in its own courts. If this is the necessary consequence of the language of the Constitution and the law, the result is no less startling and unexpected than was the original decision of this court, that under the language of the Constitution and of the Judiciary Act of 1789, a State was liable to be sued by a citizen of another State, or of a foreign country.
That decision was made in the case of Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 Dall, 419, and created such a shock of surprise throughout the country that, at the first meeting of Congress thereafter, the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution was almost unanimously proposed, and was in due course adopted by the legislatures of the States. This amendment, expressing the will of the ultimate sovereignty of the whole country, superior to all legislatures and all courts, actually reversed the decision of the Supreme Court. It did not in terms prohibit suits by individuals against the States, but declared that the Constitution should not be construed to impart any power to authorize the bringing of such suits.
The suability of a State without its consent was a thing unknown to the law. This has been so often laid down and acknowledged by courts and jurists that it is hardly necessary to be formally asserted. It was fully shown by an exhaustive examination of the old law by Mr. Justice Iredell in his opinion in Chisholm v. Georgia; and it has been conceded in every case since, where the question has, in any way, been presented, even in the cases which have gone farthest in sustaining suits against the officers or agents of States. In all these cases the effort was to show, and the court held, that the suits were not against the State or the United States, but against the individuals; conceding that if they had been against either the State or the United States, they could not be maintained.
Undoubtedly a State may be sued by its own consent, as was the
case in Curran v. Arkansas, 15 How. 304, 309, and in Clark v. Barnard, 108 U. S. 436, 447. The suit in the former case was prosecuted by virtue of a State law which the legislature passed in conformity to the constitution of the State. But this court decided, in Beers v. Arkansas, 20 How. 527, that the State could repeal that law at any time; that it was not a contract within the terms of the Constitution prohibiting the passage of State laws impairing the obligation of a contract.
It is not necessary that we should enter upon an examination of the reason or expediency of the rule which exempts a sovereign State from prosecution in a court of justice at the suit of individuals. This is fully discussed by writers on public law. It is enough for us to declare its existence. The legislative department of a State represents its policy and its will; and is called upon by the highest demands of natural and political law to preserve justice and judgment, and to hold inviolate the public obligations. Any departure from this rule, except for reasons most cogent (of which the legislature, and not the courts, is the judge), never fails in the end to incur the odium of the world, and to bring lasting injury upon the State itself. But to deprive the legislature of the power of judging what the honor and safety of the State may require, even at the expense of a temporary failure to discharge the public debts, would be attended with greater evils than such failure can cause.
Note.-See also New Hampshire v. Louisiana, page 259.
THE LAW ADMINISTERED BY THE FEDERAL COURTS.
SWIFT v. TYSON.
16 PETERS, 1. 1842.
Suit was instituted in the Circuit Court of the United States by Swift, as indorsee of a bill of exchange, dated at Portland, Maine, on May 1st, 1836, and accepted by Tyson in New York City. It was claimed by Tyson that the consideration for the bill was a preexisting debt, that such a consideration was not a valid one under the law of New York, that the acceptance having been made in New York the contract was to be considered as a New York contract, and therefore governed by the laws of that State, which laws were obligatory upon the Federal court. MR. JUSTICE STORY delivered the opinion of the court.
In the present case, the plaintiff is a bona fide holder without notice for what the law deems a good and valid consideration, that is, for a pre-existing debt; and the only real question in