Monaco v. Mississippi, 292 U.S. 313; 54 S. Ct. 745; 78 L. Ed. 1282 (1934)

Monaco v. Mississippi, 292 U.S. 313; 54 S. Ct. 745; 78 L. Ed. 1282 (1934)

Facts—The principality of Monaco sought to bring suit in the Supreme Court against the state of Mississippi over the nonpayment of bonds issued by the state, and alleged to be absolute property of the principality. The bonds were issued in 1833, were due in 1861 and 1866, issued in 1838 and due in 1850, issued in 1838 and due in 1858. They were handed down in a family of the state, but since private citizens cannot sue a state, the bonds were given to Monaco, on the theory that, as a foreign country, it would be able to sue the state.

Question—Can the principality of Monaco sue the state of Mississippi without that state’s consent?


ReasonsC.J. Hughes (9–0). The Court ruled that the states of the Union retain the same immunity to suits by a foreign state that they enjoy with respect to suits by individuals whether citizens of the United States or subjects of a foreign power. The foreign state enjoys a similar immunity and without her consent cannot be sued by a state of the Union. The principle of the Eleventh Amendment applies to suits against a state by a foreign state.

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