Friday, December 2, 2011
Chisholm v. Georgia (1793) is often considered the first important constitutional case rendered by the United States Supreme Court, predating Marbury v. Madison by a decade.
Certainly the importance of Chisholm v. Georgia is mitigated by the Eleventh Amendment, specifically passed to "overrule" the opinion, although to what extent remains controversial in Eleventh Amendment doctrine even now. On some views, the Eleventh Amendment adopts Justice Iredell's dissent in Chisholm v. Georgia.
ConLawProf John Orth has written extensively on this history, including in an excellent 1994 essay "The Truth About Justice Iredell's Dissent in Chisholm v. Georgia," 73 North Carolina Law Review 255.
But less careful researchers will be more likely to run across Iredell's dissent marketed as "general fiction" with the author relegated to "No bio available." The text, free elsewhere, is available as an eBook for 99¢.