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Overview of CHISHOLM V GEORGIA, 1793


Provide an explanation of the factual background of the case

1) Why was this case sent to the Supreme Court?

2) What was the constitutional issue that was associated with this case?

3) How did the court decide its verdict?

4) What reasons did the court use to come up with its decision?

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This was a very interesting case with far-reaching effects. In fact, it is one of the few Supreme Court decisions that was overturned as a result of constitutional amendment (showing that the people determine law, not the Supreme Court---the people are sovereign over the courts).

What triggered the case? In 1777, during the American War for Independence against the British, the Executive Council of Georgia authorized the purchase of and received supplies from a South Carolina businessman named Captain Robert Farquhar. However, because he was a British loyalist, Georgia failed to pay for the supplies. Upon his death, his heir who was also from S. Carolina sought to recover his stolen property. Alexander Chisholm (the heir) led the charge for the plaintiffs. Basically, he sued to recover lost/stolen inheritance. As far as Chisholm was concerned, Georgia needed to pay for the supplies it consfiscated. Defense counsel for Chisholm argued that Georgia was not immuned from prosecution and that sovereignty resided in the citizens of the several states, not within the government of the several States. In fact, Georgia was so adamant about its position of immunity, that it failed to appear in court. Motion was passed by counsel to decide on behalf of the plaintiffs. The Supreme Court decided in a 4:1 decision that Chisholm had the right to sue Georgia and that Georgia had the responsibility to pay.

What were the issues involved? In part, Article ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides a reasoned and clear overview of the landmark case, Chisholm v. Georgia (1793). With nearly 1000 words of analysis, this solution explains the meaning and the important implications of this early Supreme Court case.