Page:Democracy in America (Reeve, v. 1).djvu/261

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but States, an important political consideration is added to the same motive of equity. The quality of the parties, in this case, gives a national importance to all their disputes and the most trifling litigation of the States may be said to involve the peace of the whole Union[1].

The nature of the cause frequently prescribes the rule of competency. Thus all the questions which concern maritime commerce evidently fall under the cognizance of the Federal tribunals[2]. Almost all these questions are connected with the interpretation of the law of nations; and in this respect they essentially interest the Union in relation to foreign powers. Moreover, as the sea is not included within the limits of any peculiar jurisdiction, the national courts can only hear causes which originate in maritime affairs.

The Constitution comprises under one head almost all the cases which by their very nature come

  1. The Constitution also says that the Federal courts shall decide “controversies between a State and the citizens of another State.” And here a most important question of a constitutional nature arose, which was, whether the jurisdiction given by the Constitution in cases in which a State is a party, extended to suits brought against a State as well as by it, or was exclusively confined to the latter. The question was most elaborately considered in the case of Chisholm v. Georgia, and was decided by the majority of the Supreme Court in the affirmative. The decision created general alarm among the States, and an amendment was proposed and ratified by which the power was entirely taken away so far as it regards suits brought against a State. See Story's Commentaries, p. 624, or in the large edition §. 1677.
  2. As, for instance, all cases of piracy.