Posted by & filed under Object of the Week.

The first landmark ruling from the Supreme Court, presided over by John Jay as Chief Justice, came in the case of Chisholm v. Georgia in 1793. Alexander Chisholm attempted to sue the State of Georgia over payments due for the supply of goods to the state during the Revolutionary War. The State of Georgia claimed that as a sovereign state, it could not be sued without its consent. Jay and the court ruled in favor of the plaintiff affirming the subordination of the states to the federal government. Unfavorable reaction to the decision led to adoption of the Eleventh Amendment (ratified on February 7, 1795), denying federal courts authority in suits by citizens against a state. This portrait, an early copy of the original by Gilbert Stuart, depicts Jay in his judicial robes.